Three Things I Saw Today

While out today I saw this truck…


People parking near him were out of luck
When you park that poorly, I guess I can see
Why you overcompensate so thorough-a-ly

After that I saw this cart


Placed perfect like a work of art
I suspect it was left by a person in need
Whose tendencies ran a bit OCD

Finally I saw this bag

To hold things securely, read the tag
I don’t want to disparage the praises it sings
But wouldn’t a thief just steal all the things?

By: stockicide

I Definitely Grew Up in Ohio

I’ve joked about this before, but a while back it made news that Ohio was the “sweariest” state in the US. Apparently those of us who hail from the Buckeye state swore in 1 out of every 150 phone conversations in the study. Karey & I had great fun talking about this study, peppering our words with profanities beyond what I feel comfortable printing on my blog. And while we joked about it, I wondered if there was any truth to it. Sure, I can swear (I grew up the son of a salesman who hated people, so I heard a lot of swearing), but can I really swear better than my non-Ohioan peers?

By: stockicide

Tonight I was editing some old writing of mine, in preparation to publish it on this blog. These are old stories that I never actually published on the blog, and I figured I might as well put them up as a sort of reminiscing over my childhood. And you know what? I had to edit that article something fierce! It sounded exactly like I would tell a story, not as I would print a story (since I like to keep my editorial tone on here G rated as much as possible). I suppose there is something to that study – if left to my native tongue, I will unleash a string of profanity quite epic. Next time I joke with my students that I’m showing amazing restraint by not swearing in my lectures, I suppose I might not be exaggerating!

By: rovlls

Get True Push Gmail on Your iPhone or iOS Device

A few years ago, Google announced it was ending support for the Exchange ActiveSync Protocol (EAS) for most users. Now those of us who were grandfathered in have changed devices, and likely lost that grandfathered status. So how do you get Gmail pushed to your iOS device without having to download the Gmail app – or giving up the built-in mail client? It’s pretty simple – you resort to the only free email option that Apple provides push to – a secondary iCloud account. But what about that pesky “iCloud won’t let you send as another address” problem? Simple fix – use GMail’s SMTP server.

By: rovlls


Receiving mail sent to your Gmail address in iOS’s built-in mail client with push speed (no Fetching!) & Sending mail with your Gmail address (or custom alias).


  • This method will likely be somewhat annoying if you’re a heavy Gmail in the browser user, since most of your inbox will live in iCloud. This method works best if you use mail clients on your mobile devices and desktop, and rarely use webmail.
  • This method isn’t as nice if you have a Gmail account that you use to send out as another user (i.e. whatever@gmail.com but you usually send as whatever@customdomain.com). I explain this in more detail below, but it boils down to this: Your device won’t be able to tell Gmail what to send out as, so Gmail will assume you want to send as your primary address. If you’re a Google Apps Free user, then this method will work fine.  I was actually wrong about this one – this works fine as long as you have your preferred FROM header selected as the default account in Gmail’s settings. So if you don’t already, log in and click the Make Default link next to your desired FROM account in the “Accounts & Import” tab in settings.

Here’s what you need…

  • A Gmail account that has IMAP enabled (Check your Gmail settings). You’ll need the username (your complete @gmail.com or @customdomain address) and the password (or an Application Password if you use Google’s 2-factor authentication.
  • A secondary iCloud account (See the steps below to create one)

On the iPhone / iPad / iOS Device

I’m using iOS 7 on an iPhone 5 for these screenshots. The steps should be more or less the same

1. If you don’t have one, set up a secondary iCloud account. I suppose you could use your primary one, but I prefer to keep the mail / inboxes separate

To do this,  go to Settings on your iOS device and tap on Mail, Contacts, & Calendars. Then tap “Add Account”, then “iCloud”, then “Get a Free Apple ID”


Go through the enrollment process and note your new iCloud username and password. You’ll need the username later when you set up your Gmail address to forward to it.

2. Set up this secondary iCloud account to send through Gmail’s SMTP server (smtp.gmail.com, port 587, Use SSL set to On)

To do this, go back into Mail, Contacts, & Calendars, and tap on your secondary iCloud account. Then tap on the account name once more to go to the Account page. From there tap on “Mail” under the advanced settings. Then tap on SMTP.


Now that you’re in the SMTP screen, tap Add Server, and fill in your hostname (smtp.gmail.com) and your full Google Gmail username (whatever@gmail.com or whatever@domain.com) and password. If you’re using 2-factor authentication, you’ll need a dedicated application password. Once all the info is verified, you should see an entry under “Other SMTP Servers” for smtp.gmail.com.

You will need to go into both the iCloud & Gmail SMTP servers, setting iCloud to Off, and Gmail to On. In the end, your screen should look like the third picture below:


OK, now you’re done.

Basically we’ve told that iCloud account to send out through Gmail. Google’s servers force all outgoing mail on an account to be through either the default FROM address (your account’s address OR the address you selected as default on the Accounts & Import tab in Gmail’s settings)) or an alias, so in this case, while iCloud will want it to go out as whatever@icloud.com, it will be changed by Gmail to whatever@gmail.com. If you have an alias that isn’t your primary Gmail address, you’ll likely not be able to use this setup since iCloud won’t let you change the “from” address. However you can set up a regular IMAP account on your device with your Google credentials and change the “FROM” address.

The only issue is that replying to messages won’t be seamless – you’d have to manually select to send your reply through your IMAP Gmail account, not your secondary iCloud email account, which is messy. Therefore if you have a gmail account with a custom alias you want to use, these steps might not be any easier for you than just resorting to non-push email. As I said above, I was wrong on this one – just make sure you have the address you want your email to come from set as your default address on the Account & Import tab in Gmail’s Settings.

On Gmail’s Website

Now you need to get your Gmail pushed to your new secondary iCloud email. You can do this in Gmail’s settings by forwarding all of your mail to your new iCloud address. I then set Gmail to archive my mail, using a filter, so it’s out of my Gmail inbox (my iCloud inbox becomes my “working” inbox).

In the end, as a bonus, you also can get backups of your mail. Basically you’ll have a copy on both Google’s Gmail servers and Apple’s iCloud servers, so if one is down for any length of time, you can use the other (Although sending through iCloud.com will use your iCloud email address, not your Gmail address). In my setup, I have a similar configuration on my desktop using Apple Mail – but if you’re a heavy webmail user, it could be distracting to manage two inboxes.

In a few years if you max out your storage on iCloud, then simply create a new iCloud secondary account, and keep your first secondary account’s information if you need to use those older emails.

Hope this helps you – in the end I now have the solution I want: I send out as my custom email address, and receive at the same address in real-time. Sure I’m leveraging two clouds to do it, but who said life was easy :)


Karey & Jon Go To The (Caldwell) Zoo

Yesterday Karey & I went to the Zoo, specifically the Caldwell Zoo in Tyler, TX. Friends told us to check it out, and since Karey is the quintessential animal lover, I try to take her to a zoo every once in a while. I’m a bit different – zoos tend to bore me (I’ve seen animals before). However Caldwell was a bit different – it was a smaller zoo than we’re used to, and actually had exhibits pretty well laid out so you could see animals without having to squint. The animals themselves seemed pretty content, and active, and you could feed fish, ducks, & birds. Here are some photos from our trip – we recommend Caldwell Zoo to anyone nearby!

By: Jeremy Keith

Why An Ulta Sale & Steam Sale Should Be Seen As Just As Awesome

By: Jeremy Keith

Earlier today a friend of mine, who is an avid gamer, posted that a sale at makeup retailer Ulta was like “a Steam sale but for make up”. Having been to an Ulta last year during the holiday season to buy presents for family members, and witnessing it’s “Best Buy” like structure (The place is kinda like a makeup geek’s dream, I suppose), I get the reference. But what I really like is the implication that women should be comfortable with both establishments – as psyched about a sale at a retailer stereotypically associated with the opposite gender as she is psyched about a sale at a retailer stereotypically associated with the same gender. While in the aggregate, the gender gap in gaming seems to be closing, digging deeper reveals that there is still a pretty big gap in what types of games men and women play (Give you a hint: Women don’t typically play action games or first person shooters). Because women might not choose to play certain games, the belief persists among gamers and game designers that it’s an all-male club, which hurts not only game development (At least Lara Croft wears more clothing now) – it also sends a subtle message to young girls that “hardcore” gaming isn’t appropriate for them. Even though we know that while games in general can have positive psychological effects, this includes (and perhaps is most seen) in first person shooters. In short, there aren’t “boy” games or “girl” games, “men” games or “women” games – there are games – and if you prefer to play some of the rougher around the edges sorts, or the role playing sorts, or the “Farmville-esque” sorts, you should feel like it is an option to you.

But It Looks Like a Heart

Earlier this month, Karey & I celebrated the 15th anniversary of the first time we met in person (We met online before it was cool – actually it was still heavily stigmatized!) In honor of that, I’ll post this anecdote.

A few months ago we were driving on an epic road trip and stopped at a Wendy’s. While there I bought a six-piece chicken nugget for us to share. I tried to give Karey this nugget, but she protested “It looks like a heart”.  I think we compromised by both eating it, a half-bite each.


Costs You 1 Minute, Has Infinite Value

Before you do anything else, do me a favor:

1) Pick a random person you consider a friend. Preferably someone not super close to you, but also not someone you barely know. Someone you talk to every so often.

2) Send them a random complement. Perhaps something like “I know you’re working hard on project X right now, I know it will turn out great” or “You don’t get enough credit for the hard work you do”, or simply “I really appreciate having you as a friend”.

Go ahead – do it, then come back here.

Assuming you did it, you probably have no idea how much that simple, unsolicited complement had on the person who received it. I’ve done this a few times over the past years (always thinking I should do it more frequently) and the impact I’ve heard from people is astounding. It amazes me because it is, on my end, the simplest and easiest thing I can do. It’s literally easier than checking Facebook or reading a news article. Yet it has so much more impact on the world.

By: Zyllan Fotografía

Make your friend’s world a better place, one small complement at a time.

By: Duncan Hull

Essentials of Being A Geek

In addition to an academic, I also consider myself a “geek“. But am I really one? It seems according to BuzzFeed, I don’t make the cut. However I cite the following:

  • I have a love of learning in depth information on a variety of subjects.
  • I independently seek out new items to geek over, since I know if I took everyone’s suggestion, I’d probably be very unproductive (for example, I’ve been avoiding Doctor Who for a few years now since I have a feeling I’d probably fall hard for it)
  • I own more gadgets than everyone in my family combined.
  • I consider building VoIP phone systems, creating new software products, and configuring network services on my home network “leisure” activities.

Yet when I took the BuzzFeed quiz a few weeks go, it told me that I was barely geeky. Surely, the BuzzFeed article must be wrong! Upon closer inspection…

  • The first 40 items relate reading comic books
  • The second 40 refer to playing traditional ‘geek’ games, like D&D, Magic, etc…
  • Then a giant chunk on gaming, tabletop and video
  • Around question 140 we get to books (Oddly Star Wars books are mentioned, but not Star Trek)
  • For about 100 questions we cover Science Fiction franchises.
  • Around question 237 we hit computers, and cover them for only 30 questions.
  • The remainder hits academia (Because us academics are geeks now, thanks probably to The Big Bang Theory),  and science.

It’s interesting to me that the BuzzFeed staff seems to have a bit of a skewed idea of what a “geek” does. Most the list (80%) focuses on consumption of content, versus creation of content. I suspect though that the ‘geekiest’ among us probably are more than passive absorbers of material. How do you fix the list? In my opinion, weigh the “create” items heavier than the “consume” items, but that is just my geeky opinion! What’s yours?

Diagram By: Duncan Hull

25 Questions to Ask Walt Disney after Watching Cinderella

Yesterday I watched Cinderella for the first time in 20 years. Here’s a list of 25 questions or comments I’d ask Walt Disney regarding this film…


  1. So it’s bad that Cinderella is a servant, but it’s apparently OK to exploit talking animals for slave labor?
  2. Who names anything Lucifer?!?
  3. How does a mouse get enough lower-body strength to kick a cat that hard?
  4. Why carry a tray on your head when you have forearms?
  5. Let me get this straight – the King is mad that the prince is avoiding his responsibilities… and his only responsibility is to have kids so the King can play with them? The king has mental issues.
  6. Why don’t those slave laborer mice and birds help with the house cleaning?
  7. Jaq the super mouse can also kick doors closed? What sorts of steroids have these mice been taking?
  8. The lady mice tell Jaq and Gus to ‘leave the sewing to the women’, which apparently leaves the larceny and vandalism to the men?
  9. Who builds a chateau with elaborate mice doors in the molding and candelabras? The mice obviously didn’t build them – they appear part of the original construction!
  10. At the beginning, we’re lead to believe Cinderella makes the mice their nice little mice clothes (and presumably the clothes for the birds as well). Really though her greatest gift to them is modesty? Why do animals need to wear clothes around her anyway?
  11. Fairy godmother cuts off Cinderella as she says “You’re my…” with “Fairy godmother? Yes”. So the existence of fairy godmothers is known in these parts? I’d be a lot angrier at FG that she just now showed up after being tortured by my family for years.
  12. How do spiral wheels turn anyway?
  13. Where does the Grand Duke get that Monocole Yoyo?
  14. Wow – if the prince doesn’t propose and marry a girl after seeing her once, the King is going to KILL THE GRAND DUKE. Let that set in – this guy is clearly not in his right mind.
  15. In all the singing about love, Cinderella never thinks to mention her name?
  16. At the stroke of 12, Cinderella goes “It’s midnight”, to which the prince replies “You can’t leave, it’s…” It’s what? Early? This guy is going to try to make the argument that midnight isn’t late? Player.
  17. The Grand Duke calls after Cinderella, calling her Mademoiselle (makes sense, they’re in France, even though they’re speaking English), and then calling her Señorita?!? Does he really think she might have been Spanish?
  18. That clock takes forever to ring 12 times.
  19. Magical footwear is apparently immune to time constraints AND unique to the wearer!
  20. Walt, let’s have a talk about the appropriate size of doors and beds, OK?
  21. Why is the King such a deranged pimp? He lights multiple cigars simultaneously with a candelabra!
  22. Wow, the King really was going to kill the Duke. Harsh!
  23. Amazing how that dog we only saw twice saves the day!
  24. An evil stepsister calls the royal “shoe checker” “of all the stupid little idiots” – if not getting the Prince married off is punishable by death, shouldn’t insulting the royal delegation also be somewhat severe?
  25. Apparently the Duke has a supply of those yoyo monocles – where can I get one?


Researcher, Educator, Author, And More

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