The Single Biggest Problem in Web Development Is…

By: Pietro Zanarini

… Remembering to update the page. Was asked today to take on additional web management duties at DSU (We’re making a push to have up-to-date contact information for everyone). Not a big deal – the contact system is very functional and takes very little time to update. It’s a push to de-centralize updating it, which makes a lot of sense, as long as people are on board. It is hard to find an organization with a “vibrant” web page that has decentralized administration of that page. Yet it’s even harder to find a large organization that can devote people solely to web updating. The classic conundrum: updating web pages tends to be a NIMBY issue (not in my back yard!) Everyone agrees it needs to be done, no one likes to do it. Hopefully as the bar gets lower and lower in terms of ‘hassle’ (i.e. modern CMS’s do a great job of making it easy to publish / update things), we’ll get rid of the 3 year old webpages that should have been updated last month.

FiftyThree’s Pencil Stylus

http://appadvice.com/appnn/2015/01/fiftythrees-pencil-stylus-is-now-available-through-apple

Thinking of picking up one of these this weekend, to add to the stylus collection I have. It’s funny how pencil and paper work so well for what they do, we’re still trying to find a good replacement in the electronic age. It’s very surreal when you consider that we spend upwards of $500 to replicate an experience that costs about $0.50 to create on it’s own. Yet I do, and millions of others are as well. Paper may be versitile, but it is messy, unfriendly to trees, and easy to lose. However, we’ve yet to find something quite as easy as a good old pencil and piece of paper. Just last night I grabbed a scrap piece of paper to make a note rather than enter it into my phone. Then I went home… and entered it into my phone when I had more time!

Out of Their Element

It’s been cold the last few weeks in Mississippi, a contrast to the summer heat that seems more memorable and typical of not only the Delta, but the south in general. Southerners seem confused by cold – it’s not their native environment. The town seems to go into a low-energy hibernation when the temperature drops below 35. Oddly enough, 35 in Northern Ohio is considered uncharistically warm for January, thus skewing my perspective (although by no means am I happy with the cold weather!). So on a night after the first 50 degree day in a few weeks, and the ensuing activity it has brought, I bring you a poem. Stay warm!

Cold in air, slumbering restless south
Infused with confusion, the thaw brings certainty
Moving back into motion, the soul returns

A passing event, the air expected to chill once more
But for a few passing days, life returns to normal
Hoping for the permanence of spring

Splash Mountain’s Origin

Mental floss has a pretty interesting piece on Song of the South, the Disney movie that the characters from the ride Splash Mountain originate in (as well as the song Zip-a-dee-do-dah). It’s truly an interesting situation: popular franchise characters in a movie that hasn’t ever been released on home video in the US for fairly obvious reasons. If you’re scratching your head going “I’ve never heard of that movie..” Take a read and think about how we sorta forget that things we still see evidence of today were interpreted differently 70 years ago.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/60021/10-zip-dee-doo-dah-facts-about-song-south

(PS: I’m composing this on my iPhone, and Autocorrect almost turned the title of this piece into Allah Mountain. How it got Allah from Splash, I have no idea!)

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…

graphics-lucifer-the-cat-877031

  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.
    Cinderella-disneyscreencaps_com-6744
  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?

DisneyHipsterCinderellaGuy

Your Geek Squad Badge Just Isn’t Worth That Much

When will Geek Squad employees (or ex-employees) learn that their badges are not worth > $100, even if…

  • They were a deputy counter intelligence (While Double Agent badges are most common, deputy badges come up about once every 2 months)
  • they have a low number (Unless it’s less than 100, nobody cares)

I’ve seen badges like the one below sit on eBay for months until they finally drop the high start bid. In case you’re wondering, Geek Squad badges go for around $60 on average, although I (and I suspect most serious collectors) have gotten them for $25 or so.

20140117-003130.jpg

Minimalistic Culture

The last 10 years have seen minimalism as a movement take hold. Tips, tricks, and thoughts galore are online. One could say that the amount of how-to articles about minimalism is anything but.

Intriguing Spam

This speaks for itself – it’s one of the best form letter / Wikipedia consulted / broken English SPAM messages I’ve seen in awhile.

By: epSos .de

You know it’s legit because the dude’s name is in quotations. That’s so official I don’t even do it.

U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.
Website: http://www.treasury.gov
Date: 06/17/2013

Dear Sir,

My name is “Jacob Jack Lew”. I am the New Secretary of the Treasury under the U.S Department of the Treasury. The executive agency responsible for promoting economic prosperity and ensuring the financial security of the United States. I was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 27, 2013, to serve as the 76th Secretary of the Treasury. Prior to my appointment as the 76th Secretary of the Treasury, I have previously served as White House Chief of Staff.

However, the Good news here is that following the resolution of the meeting held with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the United Nations, an agreement was reached that the sum of $500,000.00 USD must be paid out to you in the form of a compensation. This compensation funds according the World Bank Instruction will be paid to those that have been Scammed, such as beneficiaries Lottery winners/lotto, Contract/inheritance fund, Retired Civil Servants. Hence, by virtue of my position as the 76th Secretary of the Treasury, I have irrevocably instructed the Federal Reserve Board to approve your compensation fund release via issuance of a CERTIFIED CHECK drawn on the Federal Reserve bank, which is the authorized bank for your fund release.

Therefore, as a former White House Chief of Staff under the Obama Administration, I wish to state categorically that a CERTIFIED CHECK of $500,000.00 USD drawn on the Federal Reserve bank will be issued and sent to you via the US Postal Service at no cost to you. Every and all cost associated with the delivery of the CHECK has been pre-paid by the U.S Government. The only cost associated with your fund release is the cost of processing a “Fund Clearance Certificate”, which is estimated to the value of $150.00 USD. The “Fund Clearance Certificate” is required in accordance with the U.S Monetary Policy; and it is the ONLY expenses you will incur before the CHECK will be sent to your mailing address.

You can get more facts about the U.S. Department of the Treasury on this link http://www.treasury.gov/about/Pages/Secretary.aspx

Yours truly,

Jacob Jack Lew
Secretary of the Treasury

How Long Should a Fitbit One Sleep Wristband Last?

I’ve been a fan of the Fitbit since the first tracker was introduced two years ago. I upgraded to the Ultra when it came out, and upgraded to the One when it was released last year (My fat wrist means I probably won’t be going to the Flex anytime soon though!). Recently the sleep wristband that I’ve used every night since I got the One started to look a little shabby, and after multiple repairs, I finally just broke down and ordered a new one. This got me thinking: How long should a Fitbit One Sleep Wristband last?

Here’s the comparison between the original One Wristband, that I got around November 15, 2012, and the brand new one that I received today (Replacement cost: 9.99 + s/h):

Wristband after 200 days compared to new, with repairs noted.
Wristband after 200 days compared to new, with repairs noted.

As I noted in the picture, the original wristband started to show wear and tear at about day 120. About 20 days later the end was so frayed that the material wasn’t staying together, instead I could see all layers of the wristband. While this was cool, it wasn’t very easy to work with when putting the wristband on at night, so I asked Karey to sew it. When she did it became impossible to re-align the material perfectly, since the thin material needed to also accommodate thread, so the wrinkle in the lower part of the picture (on the back of the wristband) formed.

About day 175 a new fray became pretty serious on the other side, which Karey sewed again. Today on Day 200 I also noted that the opening where the Fitbit is placed has become warped and the edging is starting to unravel. Finally over time you’ll notice that the wristband stretches, which is not a bad thing (I have large wrists), but it does mean that the opening becomes less secure. I’ve had my Fitbit fall out in bed 3-4 times in the 200 days.

According to Fitbit, the wristband is made of neoprene, and beyond that there isn’t much in the way of a ‘lifespan’ mentioned on their website. This makes sense, since everything but the wristband is made of more durable materials. Obviously they anticipated that the wristband might get worn, and allowed for the purchase of just a wristband for a small fee. So the question becomes: How long should the wristband last given the price paid for the Fitbit One? Is 200 days acceptable before requiring another $13.90 (band + s/h) after the initial investment of $100? I’m personally on the fence. I understand products like this won’t last forever, but would have been pleasantly surprised if Fitbit offered a “trade-in” service, or cut the price of the wristband to $5 or so (I should note that in the past, with the Ultra, I’ve lost a wristband and Fitbit support replaced it for free – so this isn’t a knock on their customer care or support in anyway – they’ve been top notch in my (and others, that I’ve read) experience). As of now I’m of the non-surprised “that’s what I was expecting” sentiment. What I’m curious about, though, is if others find this acceptable?