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UpFuckr Released!

Version 0.2, code named “Good Enough” is now out.


What is it?

UpFuckr is an open source Android uploader for FuckFlickr.  FuckFlickr is open-source image gallery software that won’t narc you out.  You host it yourself and it keeps things simple and easy. It was created by the Free Art & Technology lab as an alternative to hosting your photos on a certain Yahoo-owned photo sharing site.

What are the features?

  • Share single or multiple photos from the Gallery
  • Share to a main folder on your FuckFlickr or choose a folder on your fuckflickr for each upload.
  • Create a new directory on your FuckFlickr site. You know, put in the name of the concert and then start taking pictures and uploading them there.
  • Shows each picture as it uploads. Nifty!

Continue reading UpFuckr Released!

Project Idea: Render Images with Dice Rasterization

This great video by Fujiya & Miyagi inspired me:

Why not write a Processing sketch that will take an image and render it in dice? It might be fairly easy:
Divide the image into square sections.
Calculate the average brightness of that square – like I did in my engraving sketch. 1
That average brightness should fall in one of six or 12 levels of brightness.
Choose a die face that matches that brightness level.
Paste that image into the image.

What could you do with that? You could produce a print. You could use it as a guide for actually laying out the dice and putting them in a frame – or using them to print letterpress style.

When you get into the physical dice, laying them out gets tedious. The next big step would be to have an arduino system 2 that picks up dice and places them for you.

You could offer physical pieces for sale.

  1. Click on the picture. The farther right you click, the lower the brightness cutoff. The higher you click, the finer the line detail.   (back)
  2. Arduino controller code is based on Processing   (back)

Project Idea: Dasher for Android

Dasher is a text entry method completely unlike a keyboard. You just swipe and like a video game you navigate through the possible sentences you could be writing.
Check the demo:

I like the idea that you are just navigating through the Borgesian infinite library to extract your sentences.
Dasher is free and GPL, it just hasn’t been compiled for android yet. Compile it, sell it with source for $.99.

Remember, qwerty is not destiny.

How to make money from market volatility

A friend recently wrote me about a strategy he heard for exploiting market volatility.  I get these questions sometimes because I’m in finance, and because I’m in finance let me be up front.  I’m not giving you financial advice here.  I’m not an advisor, I’m not competent, you should probably close this page now and burn your computer.  Past performance has no correllation with future performance, as everyone should have learned in, oh, 2008.

That said, let’s have a little fun with these ideas.  To paraphrase my pal’s email:

Apologies in advance for what I hope is a not-too-complicated financial question.  So you ever heard of something called volatility drag?  Something to do with how over time double- and triple-leveraged ETFs always lose money. I found an investment opportunity that uses this principle to make money.  The pitch I heard says that the strategy is sound and has data to back it up since the 90s.  I find it hard to believe that something that automatically mints you money (admittedly at a “watching paint dry” pace) exists, yet it seems so from what I can tell…

I hadn’t heard of volatility drag before but it was fun to learn about.  Under the fold:  Charts! Definitions! Sage Advice! Links to books!

Continue reading How to make money from market volatility

The Dark Passenger

At the party, Blakely said that she had always wanted to do something new, like write a movie. I make things happen, so I got her to imagine a thriller that we could easily film in NYC. She’s probably a bit sick of the subject by now.
You can read The Dark Passenger in this S5 presentation.

If you’ve got some suggestions, just add them into the text version of The Dark Passenger and mail me. I’ve written it in markdown format, a no big deal way to write text. Pandoc can read it and turn it into the presentation above. No big deal, but I thought you should know.

Some good advice to my friends who are terrified of this job market

Don’t try to dodge the recession with grad school.. Many of my friends are considering this sort of move. It’s a sucker bet for a number of reasons that Penelope outlines. My basic argument is her last one.

Graduate school forces you to overinvest: It’s too high risk.
In a world where people did not change careers, grad school made sense. Today, grad school is antiquated. You invest three to six extra years in school in order to get your dream career. But the problem is that not only are the old dream careers deteriorating, but even if you have a dream career, it won’t last. You’ll want to change because you can. Because that’s normal for today’s workplace. People who are in their twenties today will change careers about four times in their life. Which means that grad school is a steep investment for such a short period of time.

You put in many years of avoiding adult life and prolonging adolescence, then commit to a career you have no real idea about. When I thought I might want to be a lawyer, I worked for a law firm and was firmly told by many lawyers that this is the worst job ever. When I thought I wanted to be on the news, I became a news reporter and learned why the news structurally has to be terrible. You learn more by doing.

Of course, that’s coming from a guy who hasn’t gone to graduate school. I still think though, that if you are lost, or unsure, the general best bet is to say yes to lots of opportunities and ditch the ones you hate. You will get somewhere by staying in motion, and learn more things.

Offline and online

Google came out with a good idea a while ago called Google Gears.  The idea is to make some of these new fangled web applications able to function when you aren’t connected to the internet.

It never seemed like that great of an idea to me, but I’ve been using a personal Wiki to track household stuff with my pardner Sam.  I’ve been wishing for a wiki that I could use when I’m on the train and away from the internet.

I love the network.  When you are away from it though, why couldn’t you have a better cache – a mini net that is the last known version of what you seem to care about.  I’ve been using programs to download entire websites locally so I can read them while I commute.  It would be nice if you could just mark them as being of special interest in your browser.  Let computers hum and whir and keep it all up to date and in synch.  If we can do it with email, could we do it with the web, or at least the web I’m interested in?

Some folks think that offline and online will disappear as the network penetrates every corner of the world.  I doubt it.  Someone’s got to pay for it. More folks are interested in drinking water than BoingBoing, but it hasn’t penetrated every corner of the world.

The shotgun approach to recruiting is counterproductive

> Hi Matthew,


> I'm very impressed with your rating/experience.

> At the current time, I have a few clients that are looking for experienced

> Ruby Rails developers (both contract & permanent) like yourself. There

> is

> lots of room for creativity and growth at these places.


> So, my contacts are below if you're still looking. Also, if possible, can

> you pls forward me

> your current resume?


> Thanks much!


> Leslie Doan

> ******************

> Managing Partner


> 2570 North First Street

> Suite 200

> San Jose, CA 95131

> C: 408.386.7246

> E:

> W:
Hi Leslie Doan,

I know it's tough to be a recruiter.  Cold calling is difficult and much

of recruiting is a volume game.

But you aren't doing yourself any favors with this email.

You're starting this relationship with me by lying to me.  You say you've

looked at my working with rails profile and been impressed.  But that

can't be true.  I've never worked on a real rails or ruby project.  I have

no ratings or experience, so how can you be impressed.My resume is also clearly linked from my working with rails profile.  If I

can't rely on you to know that, how can I trust you with my career?  I've

worked with a lot of recruiters, and I know that high volume folks treat

you like a tiny number. They are usually more interested in getting you

hired anywhere at any price so they can collect a commission.  I smell

that big time in this email.

If you show any level of familiarity with who I am or any of the many

links on my profile, I'm so much more likely to work with you.

Hope this helps you, and good luck in the recruiting game,


p.s. To make this letter worth my time as well as yours, I'm putting it up

for my pals on my website.  Don't worry, I don't have a very high


As you might imagine, I haven’t gotten a response from Leslie. I don’t think she’s interested in investing time in my career.

Call Nightline!

My friend Nikki pointed out the MIT Nightline for me and neither of us can get over how good this idea is. I love the idea of a number in your phone that you can call for anything. It’s staffed with volunteers.

I think you could set up a non-MIT version of this based off of free labor.

Step 1. You sign up and list what you can be called about. “I can talk to people about finances, computers, snowboarding, general whatevers”

Step 2. You sign up for a time that calls can be relayed to you. “I volunteer for 6-7 pm this wednesday.”

Step 3. You are now able to call in about any problem and get someone to talk to.

Your cost is mainly the servers, bandwidth, pbx system and phone time.

The trick is to balance the commitment that folks have to give versus the demand.

I think a good name for it would be to steal from Warren Ellis the name “Global Frequency”.