Showing posts from February, 2013

SHEILD Act: a bill to stop patent trolls

Rob, the host of Podcast411, says:

A patent troll is out to kill off podcasting, or at a minimum critically wound it. This troll does have a patent on the whole podcasting process, despite the fact they have not contributed one line of code to the process or even a single idea used in podcasting. But they have a patent and they are going to suck as much money from podcasters as possible.

That they were granted this patent in February 2012 just goes to show how broken the patent system is. They have already started suing podcasters in the Eastern District court of Texas - where all patent trolls go to do their evil deeds. They also started sending out letters to individual podcasters looking to extort license fees. If you listen to podcasts it is likely at some time in the near future one or more of the podcasts you listen to will be hit with one of these extortion letters. There is actually a really good chance one of the podcasts you listen to already has -- four podcasts I listen to o…

Growing Your Business From TechShop to the Garage

I first met Laura Bruland of Yes & Yes Designs in May 2012 at TechShop in San Francisco. As an avid book reader I was intrigued by the fact that she took old discarded books and turned them into jewelry. OK, I slightly cringed at this, but the results are beautiful. At the time she was able to run her entire business out of TechShop. No overheard, no employees. Just her and a monthly membership.

Move forward seven months and she's grown her business from six stores in San Francisco to 23 around the world. She went from being a one-woman show to having a business partner/employee and her own laser cutter

from MAKE

“People Who Buy Things Are Suckers.”

Fans of the television show Parks and Recreation may have caught this awesome scene at the very end of season 5, episode 14, where character Ron Swanson rips out a wall sconce and forges wedding rings from the metal in a cast iron waffle iron.Read the full article on MAKE

from MAKE

Destabilizing the bullying power structure

Bullies aren't welcome. For every bully, there are a dozen or a hundred workers/kids/individuals that would prefer not to be bullied. Given these overwhelming odds, how do bullies continue to get away with it?
Bullying is what happens when an individual with power exercises that power against people who don't fit in. By threatening to expose or harm or degrade the outlier, the bully reinforces the status quo in a way that increases his power. [Physical bullying is a different phenomenon... I'm mostly writing here about emotional bullying.]
"I will punish you because you don't fit in, and I will continue to punish you until you do."
Bullying persists when bureaucracies and hierarchies permit it to continue. It's easier to keep order in an environment where bullying can thrive (and vice versa), because the very things that permit a few to control the rest also permit bullies to do their work. The bully uses the organization's desire for conformity to his o…

The roller coaster of shipping

Perhaps something like this has happened to you. Here's an annotated graph of what it's like to make a book, with 'joy' being the Y axis with time along the bottom (click to enlarge)...

1. The manic joy of invention. The idea arrives, it's shiny and perfect. I can't wait to share it.
2. The first trough of reality. Now that I've pitched the idea to someone (and I'm on the hook), the reality of what has to be done sets in precisely as the manic joy of invention disappears.
3. Wait! The epic pause of reality. It's not quite as bad as I feared. I can see a path here, maybe. I'm still in trouble, sure, but perhaps...
4. The horrible trough of stuckness. The path didn't work. The data isn't here. Critical people have said no. People in critical roles have said no. I can't find any magic. Sigh.
5. Flow. This is why we do it. The promises made as a result of #1 pushed me through the horrible trough, and the lights are coming on and my forward mo…

For the one person who didn't get the joke

The fabled comedian is killing it at a club that seats 400. One guy in the back, though, isn't laughing.
Miles Davis was shunned by a few people in the audience, even at his coolest.
The theater critic at the Times might not like this play, the one that made people cry and sold tickets for years.
And just about every blog post and book listing collects a trolling comment from someone who didn't like it, didn't read it or didn't agree with it (or all three) and isn't shy about speaking up with a sharp tongue.
For those people, the message from the creator of the work is clear: "It's not for you."
Unanimity is impossible unless you are willing to be invisible. We can be unanimous in our lack of feedback for the invisible one.
For everyone else, though, the ability to say, "It's not for you," is the foundation for creating something brave and important. You can't do your best work if you're always trying to touch the untouchable, or enter…

Customers who break things

2% of your customers don't get it. They won't read the instructions, they'll use the wrong handle, they'll ignore the warning about using IE6. They will blame you for giving them a virus or will change the recipe even though you ask them not to.
And not only that, they'll blame you when things go wrong.
If you do a very, very good job of design and UX and process analysis, you can lower this number to 1%.
But then what?
The thing is, blaming this group for getting it wrong helps no one. They don't want to be blamed, and they're not going to learn. 
The other challenge, of course, is that the 1% keep changing. If they were always the same people, you could happily fire them. But there's no way to know in advance who's going to get it wrong.
If you're going to be in a mass market business, you have no choice to but to accept that this group exists. And to embrace them. Not to blame them, but to love them. Successful businesses have the resilience to mak…

My Two Ingredient Kraveables

Two ingredients and two minutes are all you need to make my kraveables. Step One: Gather Your Ingredients For this recipe you will need: about 3 cups Kellog's Kraveables Double Chocolate Cereal about 1/4 cup powdered sugar Step Two: Pour Ingredients in Bag Pour both ingredients into gallon-si...
By: twinkleshine

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from Instructables: exploring

Incredible Secret Money Machine

When I first started to get serious about making money I ran into this book written in 1978 by a hippy-hacker living in Arizona. His advice was aimed at “craft and technical” types who wanted to create a small business “doing their thing” whether that was creating ceramic pots, designing outdoor gear, or writing computer code. He talked about doing a starting up before that term was subverted by the implication that your start up would take over the world. Instead the author preached one-person self-employment that made you a living. The concept of entrepreneurism as a small-time life-style has evaporated from the culture, and now entrepreneur and start-up means “get big fast.”
That did not appeal to me then, or now. But making a living doing what I was passionate about did. I learned how to earn a self-employed living from this book, which was mostly about what not to do. (I have been self-employed now for most of my adult life.) A lot of Don Lancaster’s specific examples are now terr…

Fagor 3-in-1 Multicooker

Last summer I tried some carrot soup that tasted like buttered toffee. It had been made in a pressure cooker, which heats water vapor above boiling temperature, greatly reducing normal cooking times. I told my parents I was going to get a pressure cooker, and they recommended the Fagor multi cooker, because unlike most pressure cookers it has an electric browning feature, which lets you brown beef, fish, or chicken right in the pot before you pressure cook it, greatly improving the flavor.
The Fagor is also a slow cooker and a rice cooker. Because it is so versatile, I use it almost every day. The throw-everything-in-the-pot-and-push-a-button approach has broadened my cooking horizons. I’ve made rib roast in the slow cooker that had my in-laws coming back for thirds. I’ve made mouth-watering chicken stuffed with sun-dried tomato pesto, basil and goat cheese in a matter of minutes. I’ve made salmon with spinach and lemon sauce, fennel and Italian sausage, creamy risotto, and spicy Bolog…

booklist 2013: LOVE IS STRANGE, Bruce Sterling

That is one peculiar fucking book.
You get the strong feeling that Bruce sat down one day and said, “A Paranormal Romance.  People like those.  How can I tear down the term ‘Paranormal Romance’ until it a) turns into something I would like to write b) makes people who like Paranormal Romances cry blood?”
Bruce likes breaking things in his fiction. I often see things his characters love getting ruined somehow. It’s hard to think of anyone else who enjoys the casual harrowing of his characters so much.
It is a romance.  Bruce does in fact have fun playing with old romance-fiction tropes.  There are points where you can almost hear him cackling as he rattles around a LOVE BOAT port of call and scatters poison romances across the sun-kissed trattorias and streets.  There is the paranormal: or, at least, people who think they’re paranormal, and people who call each other paranormal.  It’s also, to some extent, about the delusions around these things.  The female romantic lead is a loon, the m…

Never give up on your dreams, unless …

Never give up on your dreams. Unless you’re a rhino who wants to be a unicorn. That’s not giving up. That’s refusing to bend to the pressure the media puts on rhinos to be more mythical.

Source: via Jon on Pinterest

from Stuff Christians Like - Jon Acuff

Zeppelin Knot

For some reason this amazingly useful knot has been forgotten. Like many knots, it is stronger than a square knot, but it is unique in that it can always be untied easily, even after it has been loaded heavily. In other words, it will not “jam”. It is also easy to tie and easy to verify.
Supposedly it is called the Rosendahl or “Zeppelin” knot because American airship commander Charles Rosendahl insisted on its use in mooring lines. Airships can put tremendous transient loads on those lines, so they needed strong knots that could still be untied in a hurry.
Instructions on how to tie it can be found at Mother Earth News, and also at Wikipedia.
-- Karl ChweZeppelin Knot
Instructions can be found at Mother Earth News, and Wikipedia

from Cool Tools