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File Faster, Pull Icons Off of Your Bills

I was reorganizing my file cabinet recently (after neglecting the project for many years and building up a severe organizational deficit.) I was getting all fired up and ready for making a word template for the folder tabs I would need, when laziness (and therefore invention) struck.

Why not just cut the cool colorful letter head off of one of the bills in each folder and slap that on there? I don't really care to define that 'comcast = cable bill' I know that.. I just want to come up with a tab that tells me what's in there.

Math Education

Math.

Math.

Here's the thing about math: People don't like it. I, for one, hated it in school. I remember math classes thusly:

1) Teacher writes some problems on the board and shows how to solve them.

2) Teacher gives an assignment of scores of similar problems, to be due the next day.

3) Teacher takes nap on desk while students start working on the assignment silently.

Japanese Pizza Hut Wackiness

See what the wackos at Pizza Hut Japan have dreamt up (click the image to go to Flickr for notes):

Google Reader Keyboard Shortcuts

I use google reader in an effort to more efficiently waste time every day. It's quite handy for RSS/news reading.

Every once in a while they change a feature here or there.. sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. The other day Scotty and I noticed that f5 no longer refreshed google reader.. instead it brought up a tagging box... and I noticed that If I hit f6, it'd make the left pane with the subscription list hide or show itself.

IE's CSS does letter-spacing stupidly

I know most of my readers (all 2 of you) will probably stare blankly at me over this topic, (I guess this is mostly for the search engines) but IE continues to piss me off, and I need to tell SOMEONE.

Today's problem is IE7's math, and their implementation of kerning. (having wiki'd that, I see I may be talking about tracking, but who cares.)

In css, you use a parameter called letter-spacing to change kerning on things. As with all other css, you can specify the units you want to use as pixels, points, percentages, or em. (there are others.)

An em is essentially the width of a standard 'M' character in your font of choice. For IE's mathematical purposes, it's a percentage of the font size you specified elsewhere.

So if I have a font-size: 12px; for my entire document. I can make my headers: font-size: 1.5em; and they will be displayed 150% of 12px. (18px)

So.. an example.

i'm letter-spacing of 1 em

if you're using any recent browser, that should look all spready...

Now.. I rarely need massive letter spacing like that... (though it does come up.) More often than not, I get handed a nice layout from a pro graphic designer that has text in it that is crammed together, ever so slightly, but it really does change the look of certain things.

in IE.. the best you can do for 'ever so slightly' is this:

i'm letter-spacing of -0.05 em... the quick brown fox.. yadda yadda
i'm letter-spacing of -0.00 em... the quick brown fox.. yadda yadda

that's not so bad in trebuchet or whatever the hell i'm using here, but in an italic serif font, it looks pretty tight. Now, IE can take any unit ABOVE .05.. (or 5%).. which.. in negative kerning terms.. isn't too useful.. but I sleep well at night knowing that I can always choose to do something like:

DRM Free Itunes Tracks contain water marking. Not a bad idea.

The EFF is digging into what hidden data is contained in the new DRM free tracks in Itunes

At the very least, it appears that your name is attached to each file.

This seems like a fine idea. People can do whatever the hell they want with their music, but if they share it widely, Apple and others know who to sue. (I'm not sure how the tech will actually shake out.. like all other methods, stripping this info out of the file for someone who's suitably determined would be a trivial act.)

vista rant #1

You no longer seem to have direct access to 'c:\Documents and Settings' it appears to be in multiple places all over the system (as symbolic links) and none of them will give you the ability to browse their files. All I ever get is 'access denied'. I hack program files in there all the freaking time.. in this case, I want to put a heavily modified copy of my mouse configuration's xml file on the new box, so it matches my laptop. That ability seems to have been taken away from me in the interest of security. Fuck security.. I was reasonably secure before..

Arduino Time Lapse Photography IV

Not much to say here, this is the final result of my latest attempt. Took about 20 days or so. I've still got the camera in place, and I'm going to leave it shooting until that bloom falls off.

Seas of Plastic

Anyone who knows me knows that I tend to pooh-pooh anything I perceive as hippie nonsense, and this includes a great deal of environmental nonsense (watch Penn & Teller's Bullshit! episodes on recycling and the environmental movement for a pretty good explanation of why I roll my eyes).

But the story linked below just has to be told. Executive summary: There are three spots in the oceans where the water runs very slowly. The currents just kind of swirl there, so a lot of stuff gets stuck. These things are hundreds of miles across.

QTFairUse6 2.5

Well, ladies and gentlemen, the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) just got useful.

With the release of QTFairUse6 2.5, you can finally, quickly and effortlessly, strip Fairplay DRM infection from your iTMS files without screwing up your iTunes library or playlists. This handy little app scours your library for offending files, captures them to non-DRMed AAC files, and replaces them in the database, so everything continues to work as before. It also backs up the infected ("protected" in industry parlance) files to a folder of your choosing, should you find that something didn't work right.

There is no command line to fuss with, no obscure settings, nothing. Just fire up the application, tell it to process all, tell it whether and where to save the original files, and hit "Start Conversion."

Since this was released last week, I have spent about $50 at the iTMS. I still don't like the sound of the files that much, but for things like re-buying CDs that I stupidly sold when I was strapped for cash in college but that I don't care that much about (Nirvana's In Utero, for example), it's quick and easy. And now that I know that I can keep the things I buy, I have no qualms about using the iTMS.

Hey Apple and RIAA thugs, if you're reading this: Do you understand what I'm saying? I will give you money if you let me keep what I buy. If you don't, I won't. It seems pretty straightforward to me, but then again, I don't have shit for brains.

Anyway, get this app and clean up your tracks before Apple makes you upgrade iTunes again and you have to wait for that to be cracked!

UPDATE:
For those of you (I'm looking at you, aaron!) who are unwilling to read the post linked above, here is a direct download link, which includes the files necessary for cracking iTunes 7.1.1:

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