Category Archives: Hacks

Broken Road is an SEO optimized music video by Numbers and Letters

I’m gonna brag a little and say I knew Katie Hasty when. She’s rolled with the Old Dirty Barristers and she’s good peeps. I had to share her latest video because it has stepped hard on all my buttons. My buttons might be a little cracked, so hard has she stepped.

This upbeat banger from Numbers and Letters is all about Kittens, Sex, Fail – the most popular search terms on the internet.

From their description:

This lyric video was designed to make use of the three of the most popular SEO-friendly terms: “kitten,” “sex” and “fail.” They are among the internet collective’s favorite things to search for. At times, they are interchangeable, full of meaning and without meaning. Congratulations, us.

This video was made possible through Creative Commons-licensed content and the contributions of Numbers And Letters fans. Cats cats cats

BTW – she does the right thing and cites her sources in the youtube page. GO KATIE! Buy the album when it comes out in APRIL.. WTF?

Your art on my wall!


Dr. Mallin sent me this panorama from the top of Mount Grandeur in Utah. Now it’s up in the cloud gallery.

I’ve gotten some great submissions from friends – but many are too short! Please send me your highest resolution longest panoramas. Or don’t worry about it and send me whatevs. I’ll edit it to make it work if I can.

Here is what it looks like in the room. That’s Robin with River on his lap.

Project Idea – Syncing ebook reader

The bookworm logo

Here’s the setup. O’Reilly hosts a django based open source ebook reading website called bookworm.  You can run bookworm on your own server.  I opened a ticket on bookworm’s bugtracker to provide an api method to update where you are in a book.  Next you update Aldiko (Not open source, but perhaps we can write a plugin for it) and FbreaderJ to use that method when they exit to update where you stopped reading.

Upshot: You open a book on your phone and read it.  It syncs with your server with a bookmark of where you stopped reading.  Then you go to your website, and begin reading from where you left off.  And so on. Perhaps your phone also detects when it gets a new ebook and uploads that to your server or downloads a new book from your server when one shows up as well.

Greasemonkey Hack: Adding tags and autosuggest to trunkly

The Backstory was awesome. It was my first introduction to truly social software. It was my first introduction to tags and folksonomy vs. taxonomy – which blew my tiny mind.

And it was useful. Immediately, quickly, crazy useful. You could find the stuff you had seen! You didn’t have to be on the computer you had originally seen things on! You could bubble up lists of things you were interested in! I was struck with love.

Then Yahoo bought it and did the thing that Yahoo does to promising and interesting websites. It starves and kills them. So delicious is now getting bought by AVOS.

The New Thing

I’ve moved on and Trunkly looks like the best replacement so far. It is free, they will import all of your delicious bookmarks, scrape your twitter and facebook feeds, and one of the first things they built was a way to get your stuff back out of the site. I always like to have an exit strategy. I suggest trunkly as a delicious migration. The developers are really responsive and they have the freedom right now to do new and surprising improvements.

Not a small benefit: It is EARLY and short names on trunkly are available. So I was able to get

Finally, the Point

The trunkly submit bookmark form is a bit crap though. I fixed it. See:
Turns into:

You need the Firefox browser and the excellent Greasemonkey addon. Got those installed?

Great – now click here to install Autosuggest Tagging for Trunkly.
. You can always see the source or file bugs on it at the page.

A Poem about Proper Paperwork

Today is my birthday, and I’ve been overwhelmed with happy birthday wishes. I’m very fortunate and grateful.
I’d like to give you a gift back.
Here is a poem about the importance of filling out forms.
Please enjoy “We Know” in a browser like Chrome or Firefox.

Tonight we will be having dinner at Superfine in DUMBO and then off to see “Black Watch” at the St Ann’s theater. Perhaps we will see you Saturday at Cinco de Matto?

What to do when you get detached from your head, you git.

I found myself wandering about detached from my head, fully committed. You don’t want to commit when detached from head, but I had.

I didn’t know how it happened, but there I was, headless. What a silly, silly git.

I reached out to a friendly spider and the answer was there in the web.
Before you wander back to your head, it is important to mount yourself to a branch, then you can use that branch to reattach your head quite easily.
Here is how the magic incantations go:

git checkout -b the_wanderer
git rebase master
git checkout master
git merge the_wanderer
git commit

I’ve tied the branch to where I am, then grabbed where I was and attached that, then bound everything back together.
Clear as mud? Already done git checkout master? Check the spellbook that inspired me.

Police bees will hunt rogue geneticists


Regine has a lovely interview with Thomas Thwaites 1 about a future where the police hunt growers of hallucinogenic plants via special bees.

How did the pollen forensics researchers react to your project?

In general the reaction was that it was almost believable… which is the reaction you want for a futures project I think. A plant geneticist, (who’s ‘Crash Course in Synthetic Biology’ I later crashed) saw the project and said he’d thought about taking genes from the Marijuana plant and putting them into a tomato plant (being a respected scientist I’m sure he wasn’t saying he’d thought about ‘doing it’, just ‘about it’).

And this gem of what’s actually happening now to translate pollen to crime:

Are the police in the UK already using pollen forensics?

Yes, and its been pretty instrumental in several very high profile cases. There’s this lady called Pat Wiltshire who is the police’s go-to person for pollen forensics. She can look at a sample of pollen from clothes or whatever, and visualise the landscape it’s from – a filed of maze, with a river next to it, and an oak tree in the middle – or something like that. The impression I got about police work when I was interviewing James, and a detective, was that it’s really arduous. Pollen forensics would be one detail in many that would lead to cracking a case, and as importantly, proving it in court.

This high weirdness is definitely part of the adjacent possible, one of those strange futures that hasn’t happened, but should.

  1. He’s the guy who tried to make a toaster out of raw materials, start to finish   (back)

Project Idea: Conscience

This is just a sketch of an idea. Help me fill it out.

The elevator pitch

An angel on her shoulder

What if you could have an angel on your shoulder that helped you make purchases that reflected your values? We’d all like to vote with our dollars, but complicated corporate structures and global supply chains have made it difficult to keep track of who is doing what.
Continue reading Project Idea: Conscience