Links for December 28th through January 8th

This entry was published at least two years ago (originally posted on January 8, 2009). Since that time the information may have become outdated or my beliefs may have changed (in general, assume a more open and liberal current viewpoint). A fuller disclaimer is available.

Sometime between December 28th and January 8th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too!

  • freezebubbles: It's very cold tonight, so we played with bubbles. If you blow them upwards enough they have time to freeze on the way down.
  • xkcd: Converting to Metric: The key to converting to metric is establishing new reference points. When you hear "26° C," instead of thinking "that's 70° F," you should think, "that's warmer than a house but cool for swimming." Here are some helpful tables of reference points…
  • Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service: Seattle: Green River near Auburn: Hydrologic info for the Green River. Currently in the 'caution' zone at its single checkpoint, but seems to have crested already and is expected to drop from here on out.
  • UiRemote: The Universal Infrared Remote for iPhone: With the help of this small accessory, you will be able to use your iPhone to control your TV, DVD, Cable box, Projectors, Digital Photo Frames, AC, Fans, & Backyard evil robots, whereever you go. Not only does it send out the remote control signals, you can easily teach it to learn any button on any standard Remote, or even a sequence of button clicks as a macro. (This looks nice — hopefully they make it compatible with the iPod Touch as well!)
  • 25 Years of Mac: From Boxy Beige to Silver Sleek: Here's what's amazing about the Mac as it turns 25, a number that in computer years is just about a googolplex: It can look forward. The Mac's original competition—the green-phosphorus-screened stuff made by RadioShack, DEC, and then-big kahuna IBM—now inhabit landfills, both physically and psychically. Yet the Macintosh is not only thriving, it's doing better than at any time in its history. Mac market share has quietly crept into double digits. That's up from barely 3 percent in 1997, just before the prodigal CEO returned to the fold after a 12-year exile. Any way you cut it, the Mac is on the rise while Windows is waning. Roll over, Methusela—the Macintosh is still peaking.
  • 6 New Web Technologies of 2008 You Need to Use Now: Every year, we see scores of innovations trickle onto the web — everything from new browser features to cool web apps to entire programming languages. Some of these concepts just make us smile, then we move on. Some completely blow our minds with their utility and ingenuity — and become must-haves. For this list, we've compiled the most truly life-altering nuggets of brilliance to hit center stage in 2008: the ideas, products and enhancements to the web experience so huge that they make us wonder how we got along without them.
  • NCIS: The Official TV Soundtrack: Okay, maybe it's a little cheezy as a TV show tie-in, but NCIS is my personal favorite of the current crop of crime dramas…and the entire second disc of the soundtrack set is music from Abby's Lab: Collide, Ministry, Seether, Skold vs. KMFDM, Nitzer Ebb, Android Lust, and more. Sweet!
  • Weak cellphone law puts drivers off the hook: When lawmakers addressed the issue, they amassed sufficient votes only for a law that made talking on a handheld cellphone a secondary offense. If it were a primary offense, an officer could stop a violator on the spot for using a cellphone. But in our state, officers can stop an offender only for another reason, such as a busted taillight, weaving or following too close. During the stop, they can write an additional ticket for cellphone misbehavior. Of several states with cellphone bans, including California, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York, only Washington opted to make it secondary offense.
  • Whose Streets?: In both instances the the streets have been immediately appropriated for the purpose of joy—not commerce or commuting—and the Seattle police, who normally exist to protect commerce and commuting, have gotten it exactly right. They've ceded the streets to the celebrants and made it their duty to protect them and their temporary takeover of space that isn't theirs. On election night, I saw police keeping cars away from the street party in the above video. On Saturday night—or, really, at 2 a.m. on Sunday morning—I saw a lone police car parked so that it blocked traffic from descending the hill favored by the East Denny Way sledders, some of whom are pictured above.
  • Chart Porn: The Unofficial Theory Of Sci-Fi Connectivity: We've concentrated on three types of crossovers between series: Direct Crossover, where characters from one series or another have actually met in a story; Easter Egg, where elements of one series have appeared in another (often as geeky in-jokes), and Brand Crossover, where market forces have brought two disparate things together for no good reason (See Transformers/Star Wars).