Favorites from ftrain
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Paul Ford explains the long road to HTML5 and the web standardisations process in the New Yorker.
In “Gathering of the Player Men at Buffalo,” the Music Trade Review described a heady scene in which Mr. P. B. Klugh, speaking for the Cable Company, said that it had adopted “the nine-to-the-inch scale” and that “they were not open to argument on the subject, as such a scale had given entire satisfaction.” Swayed, the manufacturers resolved the issue in favor of Klugh. As a result, we now live in a world where nine-holes-per-inch piano rolls are the standard. You would be a fool to build a player piano to any other metric.
Of course, the Web page is far more complex. It requires dozens of standards, governing words, sounds, pictures, interactions, protocols, code, and more. The role of Web parliament is played by the W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium. This is a standards body; it organizes meetings that allow competing groups to define standards, shepherding them from a “working draft” to “candidate recommendation” and “proposed recommendation,” and finally, if a standard has been sufficiently poked and prodded, granting the ultimate imprimatur, “W3C recommendation.”
Wanted: Explainer explainer. Our venture-funded vertical-driven content prosumer phablet platisher is rapidly growing and we need to add some Ninja Rockstar Content Associates A.S.A.P. See below for a list of open positions!
New to manufacturing. How do I go from making things to having something made?
Friendship bracelets! A photo tutorial for chevrons and another photo tutorial for basic stripes, chevrons, & diamonds. More basics with simple patterns & advanced. The BeyondBracelets thorough video tutorials (& on her blog is a bracelets 101 to gradually progress your skills). For complicated patterns check out these, and also these (with alphabet patterns & instructions), and also this crowdsourced free pattern-sharing site (patterns & tutorials), and finally this dollar-a-pattern pay site. If you're not interested in bracelets you can use the same idea for tangle-free headphones or wrapping tech cords & cables. (previously: lanyards)
Last October, the newly rebranded Miami Marlins released an artist's rendering of a tacky home run celebration structure that would be built in their new stadium, to widespread derision. With the offseason nearing its end, the structure has moved from concept sketch to reality. Initial reactions note that the structure is mind-bogglingly enormous, and maybe actually kind of awesome. Recently, stadium staff gave the structure a test run.
Looking for a dystopian short story that made the rounds around half a year ago about intellectual property. It was (I believe) a father and daughter who go through emails and have to make micropayments for copyright infringement, trademark infringement, etc. Any thoughts? I may have seen it on MeFi or Boing Boing, and my google-fu is failing me.
I do not enjoy Facebook - I find it cloying and impossible - but I am there every day. Paul Ford writes about social media, the ceaseless flow of time, and narratives - or, "Facebook and the Epiphanator".
The Age of Mechanical Reproduction by Paul Ford. When it comes to IVF, in-vitro fertilization, nothing is normal. Your world is upside-down. Your doctor compliments your wife on her monkeys. Then, when every dollar and exertion has gone toward a single hour of hope, it begins to snow.
I'm looking for quotes that basically convey - it's not about you / get over yourself.
Free PDFs of The History of Cartography, vol. 1 and 2, from University of Chicago Press.
“Watching the video I thought that it was wise of Major League Baseball to combine this sort of sentimental moment with mass speculative litigation. It kept brand values strong. I felt strangely grateful that I could have a moment to remember that afternoon. Surprised by the evidence of both copyright violation and father-daughter affection.” —Paul Ford, “Nanolaw with Daughter”
"This is a somewhat odd venture: a translation of Wittgenstein's Tractatus into the domain of software development." Wait, not so crazy, Harrison Ainsworth explains, "Central in the Tractatus is the concept of the ‘proposition’: a statement about the world that can be true or false. It is a logical artifact used to describe the world (and so links logic and world together). This maps straightforwardly to software: a proposition becomes a program. Where a proposition describes the world, a program constructs the imagination, or intended-world – an artifact. A program is like an executable proposition."
WSJ bravely criticizes the "excessive power of collective bargaining." Robert M. Costrell of wsj.com explains how the governor's proposal to restrict collective bargaining...seems entirely reasonable. via twitter.com/ftrain
How to be more light-hearted?
The way different people respond to Wikipedia may tell us more about them (or ourselves as we react) than it does about The Opus itself. Oh well, when you're rowing a boat, you're always looking at where you've been. At any rate, Atlantic has posted a nice selection of opinions on a worthy, controversial subject by mostly recognizable names.
In an age of information wealth, how do we decide what's true & what's not? Allow me to introduce the world of discussion mapping. First up we have zest (demo here), a simple tool for threading mailing lists for easier navigation. It lacks the advanced features of the others but it's an easy starting point for structuring your discussions.
Metafilter gets a very kind shout out on Paul Ford's new essay The Web Is a Customer Service Medium.
Historypin uses Google Maps and Street View technology and hopes to become the largest user-generated archive of the world's historical images and stories. Historypin lets you layer old images onto modern Street View scenes, giving a series of peaks into the past. Upload and pin your own old photos, as well as the stories behind them, onto the map.
I've never really had a clear understanding of how mechanical computing worked, until today when I watched these US Navy training films from 1953. Part 1 focuses on shafts, gears, cams and differentials. Part 2 explains mechanical component solvers, integrators and multipliers. More information about ship gun fire-control systems here.
"What I wish I could do is take our tens of thousands of nice registered subscribers and offer them a Metafilter-style community." --Paywalls, Blogs, Comments, Editing and Magazines: A Conversation with Paul Ford, Web Editor of Harper's Magazine
The Wire - David Simon's original pitch and series bible. "At the end of thirteen episodes, the viewer - who has been lured all this way by a well-constructed police show - is not the simple gratification of hearing handcuffs click. Instead the conclusion is something Euripides or O'Neill might recognize: an America at every level at war with itself." [Previously.] (via)
Paul Ford is back with six-word reviews of SxSW 2009 music (previously in 2008). Also be sure to check out Paul's (another Paul's) SxSW Artist Catalog (previously) for further SxSW music metadata goodness.
The recent passing of Studs Terkel sparked a renewed interest in his interview projects, like Working, Race, and Hard Times. But Studs was not just a broadcaster who liked people; he was a practitioner of oral history, a method of gathering information about the past through preserving individual recollections. It's a subfield of history, with its own ethics, techniques, professional literature, uses, and limitations. Learn how to collect and share oral histories yourself, from interviewing to recording and getting clearances to preserving and disseminating. Oral histories have been preserved as text transcripts for decades; now digital media isreinvigorating the form, bringing new ease to recording and wider opportunities for the public to see and hear the content. Explore oral history projects on the web with stories of veterans, suffragists, Tibetans, jazz cats, Nevada nuclear test site witnesses, Basque Americans, rodeo cowboys and cowgirls, musicians, Katrina survivors, ACT UP activists, Cambodians under the Khmer Rouge, Native Americans, women whose lives were affected by the Pill, survivors of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire,women in World War II, Hawai'ians, workers in Paterson, NJ....
I have an ordering centre for books and other written materials. I have PDFs of the books, but I don't have images of the covers. I want to make thumbnails of the covers to help people recognise the item they are looking for. How can I generate thumbnails from the first page of the PDFs?
I have the week off and want to visit some great bookstores I haven't been to before. What are your favorites in Manhattan and why? Thanks.
What should my first programming language be, if I just want to have fun? And what are good books or websites for learning said language?
Humor goes back a long way. The oldest recorded joke in the world was told 4,600 years ago to Pharoh Snefru by the magician Djadjamankh: "How do you entertain a bored pharaoh? You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the Nile and urge the pharaoh to go catch a fish," and there's lots more ancient Egyptian humor (some quite dirty) as well. Humor really got rolling with the Greeks, however, and the Philogelos (Laughter Lover) a joke book from the 4th century. A representative joke: “An intellectual was on a sea voyage when a big storm blew up, causing his slaves to weep in terror. ‘Don’t cry,’ he consoled them, ‘I have freed you all in my will'."
"For U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963, the rights holder needed to submit a form to the U.S. Copyright Office renewing the copyright 28 years after publication. In most cases, books that were never renewed are now in the public domain. Estimates of how many books were renewed vary, but everyone agrees that most books weren't renewed. If true, that means that the majority of U.S. books published between 1923 and 1963 are freely usable." How do you know? The renewal copyright records have traditionally been scattered and hard to access, but Google - with the help of Project Gutenberg and the Distributed Proofreaders painstakingly typed in every word - has just released a single database as a freely downloadable XML file.
Do you enjoy classic 2D platformers? Then boy, are you in luck! The indie game community is thriving, and a good majority of its games are exactly that. I've spent many hours playing these unique, beautiful, and often exceptional projects, and there's quite a few - more than I can count on my fingers! - that could stand toe-to-toe with the finest contemporary games. Inside is a list of some of the greatest indie platformers, based on community recommendations and my own experience. Enjoy!
I need basic info about current events.
Where can I find a free, vector map of the United States, with outlined states?
"So by this analysis dead-tree magazines have a smaller net carbon footprint than web media. We cut down trees and put them in the ground. From a climate change perspective, this is a good thing" explains Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine's editor-in-chief. While some decry this type of carbon footprint accounting as "cheating", the paper industry has lately been eager to convince the public that they are carbon-neutral.
How to say "I love you" "(42) Inappropriately, to a coworker who is already sleeping with another coworker. (43) With a heart filled with lies. (44) With a she puppet and a you puppet. (45) As she leaves for Spain with your much better-looking brother. (46) At Thanksgiving, to her twin sister, by accident."
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