Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Distributed Science on the Cheap

Buried in this post on O'Reilly Radar is the idea of doing large-scale, distributed scientific studies using consumers' hand-held devices. I can imagine health and human services releasing a mobile phone app that lets you measure, for instance, radon gas levels ... and then all the individual data sets getting uploaded to a central server that can look for larger trends.

Printable electronics are getting so easy ... they could print the sensor on postcards that you cut-out and wedge in your phone's USB port. How about a lead sensor on a postcard? How about water quality? Grassroots campaigns could print sensors and hand them out in neighborhoods they want to mobilize.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Learning Basic HTML

Kris is getting into the innards of social networks, lately, and she wants to know some HTML. Even though I use dreamweaver for my day-to-day junk, I switch in and out of code-view. And here on blogger, I enter text in the WYSIWYG view, but I'll switch over to the HTML mode if something isn't looking how I like.

A little HTML is very useful. But damned if you can find a simple primer on the web that gives you just enough to understand code, tweak it a little bit, and know what pieces to copy and paste when you wanna borrow something from somewhere else. And she really doesn't need an O'Reilly book.

Closest I could come was this simple page from Philip Greenspun. And maybe skim over this page and its neighbor. Anyone got a better one?

Magic Mouse

I've been wishing, for some time, that Apple would make an external trackpad so I can use all my lovely gestures on a desktop machine. I thought the Magic Mouse was gonna do that for me, but it actually doesn't do full on multi-touch. Nonetheless it's an awfully pretty mouse, and it's bluetoof, so it makes a nice companion to the MacBook Air.

Making Golems

This was somewhere in Nature, I think. I liked it. It's apt.