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2010 (Fathom this!)


  • AOLNews SurgeDesk: “A newly released study out of the University of Maryland concludes that viewers of the Fox News Channel were ‘significantly more likely’ to believe a host of factually incorrect information than viewers who watched other television news organizations.” A more comprehensive look at the study from NY Times’s Media Decoder.

  • Casteller. Amazing video of the Catalan tradition of human pyramid building.

  • NSFW. The titles are surprisingly bad and hilarious — if a bit disturbing. One obvious one: “Of Course She Loves a Horse”. Just goes to show that this stuff has been around way before the Net.
  • The Joydick. By SF Media Labs.
  • Sex in Games: Rez+Vibrator. By Gamegirladvance.

jCarousel Lite with pause on hover

jCarousel Lite is a nice jQuery-based carousel plugin. However, that it doesn’t include “pause on hover” functionality is a major flaw — albeit an easy one to fix. Here’s an uncompressed and a minified version.

In addition, if you run into problems with Webkit browsers (Safari, Chrome) messing up the dimensions of the carousel, place the binding in a $(window).load() block instead of $(document).ready(). Webkit seems to generally miscalculate width()s and height()s in $(document).ready().


  • jParallax. Create viewports that move in a "parallaxy" way.

  • omphaloskepsis n.
    • The contemplation of of one’s navel

SQL: Replacing linebreaks in MySQL

UPDATE table SET field=REPLACE(field, field, TRIM(BOTH '\r\n' FROM field))


  • Next time you’re faced with a server running PHP 5.1.6, don’t do it.

  • DBD Login Style. A Wordpress plugin to customize the login and register pages.

  • What The Fuck Should I Make For Dinner?.
  • EPICWIN. D&D-esque iPhone game that gives you points for doing your chores.
  • Newsweek: The Creativity Crisis. "[T]here is one crucial difference between IQ and CQ [creativity] scores. With intelligence, there is a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—each generation, scores go up about 10 points. Enriched environments are making kids smarter. With creativity, a reverse trend has just been identified and is being reported for the first time here: American creativity scores are falling."

  • jQuery Masonry. "Whereas floating arranges elements horizontally then vertically, Masonry arranges elements vertically then horizontally according to a grid."

  • sibilant
    • adj. Of, characterized by, or producing a hissing sound like that of (s) or (sh): the sibilant consonants; a sibilant bird call.
    • n. A sibilant speech sound, such as English (s), (sh), (z), or (zh).
  • Jim Jefferies on Religion Horrible Blasphemy Panda.

  • David Maupilé. A very nice photographer's portfolio based on a Leporello.

  • TwitStream. jQuery, AJAX, and the Twitter Search API.

CSS bug: IE7 and ordered lists

IE7 sometimes shows ordered lists as a series of ones (instead of incrementing the li element count). This test battery explore the various cases, but the one that did the trick for this particular case was giving the li element display: list-item.


Programmatic cut-ups

Reorganizing some long-lost demos of mine, I found my programmatic nod to William S. Burroughs’ cut-up technique. While I recall I was originally going to allow users to input text into the demo, I never got around to it. Here’s the demo, with the sample text as my entry on “fascist word processors”.

It’s obviously not perfect (the amount of parenthesis really messes up this sample), but it still sort of works. The script scans through the text, and at each pre-set punctuation mark, it “flips a coin” to determine whether or not to chop there or continue on. As the fragment gets longer, the probability to chop increases.


  • CodeIgniter (and some other PHP frameworks, for that matter) can freak out over strange cookie names. For example, the ` character will trigger a “Disallowed Key Characters” — though strangely, in IE only. One solution is to allow that character in your Clean Keys filter in your Input class.

Accessing Exchange with PHP

I did some quick googling how to use PHP to hook up with Exchange:


CSS bug: When IE7 loses absolute elements

When an absolutely positioned element is adjacent in the source to a floated element, IE7 can sometimes “disappear” the absolutely positioned element. Debugging this with the Developer Toolbar is tricky, as nearly any hasPosition-triggering change will cause the element to reappear — but the same change to the CSS won’t actually fix the problem.

To fix, check out this test battery (the fixes are in tests six and onwards).


FF2: Cursor not visible in text fields

I’m used to dealing with bugs in legacy browsers, just not ones in Firefox. A strange bug in some releases of FF2 causes the cursor to disappear in text fields and textareas. A general fix was to specify overflow: auto for the fields. However, in some stubborn cases (inside the div-complexity of a modal box), this didn’t help.

I ended up using Jquery to inject a wrapper and some CSS to fix the issue.

$('.modal input[type=text], .modal input[type=password]')
.live('focus', function(){
if ($(this).parent().hasClass('ff2fix') == false) {
$(this).wrap('<div class="ff2fix" style="float: left; width: '
+ $(this).outerWidth() + 'px; height: '
+ $(this).outerHeight() + 'px;"></div>');
$(this).css('position', 'fixed');
return true;

How to stop non-UTF-8 characters from breaking your Wordpress feeds

If you have problems with non-UTF-8 characters breaking your feeds in Wordpress (ie. breaking XML parsers), one solution is to attach a filter to the the_excerpt_rss() function and stripping or converting the characters. I’m guessing the errant off-character characters (ahem) are the result of promiscuous copypasting.

  1. Grab Jason Judge’s self-contained function for limiting to valid UTF-8 characters (here’s a link to the source).
  2. Paste it into your theme’s functions.php file.
  3. Also add the following lines:
    function the_excerpt_rss_utf8($text) {
    return trim(clean_utf8_xml_string($text));
    add_filter('the_excerpt_rss', 'the_excerpt_rss_utf8');

  • Whatever happened to the advent of personal wireless mesh networking? Nokia used to sell a wireless mesh network router, right? I wonder which is the biggest hurdle: the actual technology, security concerns or political reasons.

  • Harvard Classics. Originally known as Dr. Eliot's Five Foot Shelf, is a 51-volume anthology of classic works from world literature. Eliot claimed that the elements of a liberal education could be obtained by spending 15 minutes a day reading from a collection of books that could fit on a five-foot shelf.
  • Color Scheme Designer 3. A neat color scheme visualizer with complements, triads, and, my favorite, accented analogic.

  • SublimeVideo. An entirely HTML5 video player by Jilion.
  • Square. Gives everyone a way to accept credit card payments. Interesting idea -- and nice looking execution: a well-utilized Iphone app, a card swipe dongle, an underlying web service. Not sure about the writing a signature with your finger, though.

  • YeeLoong. "The world's first laptop which contains completely free software. All system source files (BIOS, kernel, drivers etc.) are free, no close firmware needed."
  • jQTouch. A Jquery plugin for mobile web development.

What’s wrong with buttons?

I had totally forgotten why I don’t use <button> elements:

  1. When using multiple buttons in a form, IE6 and IE7 sends the values of all of them
  2. IE6 and IE7 sends the innerHTML as the value of the button (ignoring the value attribute)

If you need a longer explanation, Drew McLellan has written about it.


  • obstreperous adj.
    1. Noisily and stubbornly defiant.
    2. Aggressively boisterous.
    (As a side note: There must be a black metal band called Obstreperous.)

Pedestrian validation woes, part Nectar.com

Today I tried signing up for a Nectar card, a customer loyalty card for Sainbury’s (among other stores). Their site, Nectar.com, is nice looking, and finding where to sign up for a card was nice and easy.

However, my attempt to sign up was thwarted when, on page two, I hit a form asking me a) how many children under 18 I had living in my household (answer: 0) and b) to provide their birthdays (empty text fields). Whatever I entered — and I mean whatever — it wouldn’t let me past the javascript validation complaining about a mismatch between the number of children and their ages. I couldn’t get past it despite an attempt to create an imaginary child to get by it.

Stumped, I gave up. Figuring I’d notify them of the issue, I clicked over to their Contact us page.

But they have only three options of contacting them: chat (which requires you to have a Nectar card number), calling them, and writing them — via snail mail.

No email address or contact form!

Adding insult to injury, their footer promo content for contacting them offers an “Email us” link.


  • Hurl. Test REST/web APIs.

  • Art Clokey, creator of Gumby, died last week. Clokey’s 1955 art school claymation film Gumbasia is curated by the Internet Archive.

  • Free online OCR. Google Docs, ABBYY FineReader Online, and open-source project OCRopus.

Notting Hill crowds

We visited Notting Hill today. Beware the legions of Ugg boots and sunglasses.

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Beared souls

caught together