Earthquake Supply Co.

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Earthquake Supply Co.

The last time we refreshed our earthquake supply kit was because of a smell. It turned out a water container had burst. This rusted most of the cans, and then the became a domestic Superfund Site. 

Given the current subscription commerce trend - get a new belt shipped by FedEx every four hours - I think there's a small business or a very interesting nonprofit here. 

Deliver a 10-day disaster survival kit every couple of years. Pick up the old one a few months before the food expires and donate it to a homeless shelter. Repeat until the next big one strikes and the kit is actually needed. Different levels for different family sizes, pets, special needs, etc. 

As usual any of my billionaire readers who are interested in funding this should drop me a line

(Related: Business of Software 2009; Meeting Defragmenter; Executive Clubbing)

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(All Marketing Posts)

Like Debate?

Updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2021

likedebate_300

I’ve just started work on a new project called Like Debate. It’s going to be a new type of debate web site, launching as soon as I can hammer out the first few features. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter or the Like Debate Blog.

(Related: Cam of Fortune!; The Secret Diary of a Xamarin Android Developer, Aged 48 1/3; ESRI Shapefile Reader in .NET)

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(All Code Posts)

Catfood: Earth for Android

Updated on Monday, May 31, 2021

EarthForAndroid

I’ve just released Catfood Earth for Android. It’s my second app created with Xamarin’s excellent toolkit. Being able to develop in C# allowed me to reuse a lot of code from the Windows version of Catfood Earth. The Android version doesn’t include all the same layers (yet) but it’s got the main ones – daytime (twelve different satellite images included, based on NASA’s Blue Marble Next Generation but with some special processing to make them look better), nighttime (city lights, shaded to show nighttime and the terminator between day and night) and a clouds layer that is downloaded every three hours.

My main worry had been that this would suck the phone battery dry, but after a fair amount of optimization it doesn’t even register on the battery consumption list. Grab it now from Google Play ($3.99, Android 2.2 or better).

(Related: Catfood Earth; Improving the accuracy of the new Catfood Earth clouds layer; Animation of a year of Global Cloud Cover)

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(All Code Posts)

Semi-flooded duck (DUKW) headlight

Updated on Saturday, September 18, 2021

Semi flooded duck headlight

Updated 2021-09-18: it's been a mystery for over nine years but I can finally reveal that this is the semi-flooded headlight of a duck (DUKW), photographed by Union Square in San Francisco.

(Related: Backyard Visits; Leafhopper Nymph; San Francisco Shoreline Timelapse)

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(Recent Photos)

Reviews and Links for August 2012

Updated on Friday, February 24, 2017

The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters

5/5

Stonking police procedural set in the months leading up to a global catastrophe.

 

Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez

5/5

Excellent techno-thriller. A little more serious and focused than Daemon and Freedom (TM). It's about a worst case drone scenario, ants, extra-special forces and some smart birds. Very good.

 

Links

Windows 8, Users 0? http://t.co/966Cuwjz

Bill Nye declares Todd Akin "fucking idiot"; issues debate challenge http://t.co/AZ3k55Y4 #fb

ITHCWY: Fight Facebook with Email: I was a little saddened to read today that Diaspora is transitioning over to… http://t.co/2G0pDdu0

Diaspora Founders To Move On, Handing Over Decentralized Social Network ‘To The Community’ http://t.co/KQGb2kpv -- sad, but not the future

RT @MargaretAtwood: Just used http://t.co/Nhna2CGO for gruesome printer problem: excellent, done in 10 mins! Tks to S H E F I N. Website ...

Check out Catfood Earth Live Wallpaper on Google Play! https://t.co/NTJQ1sYL

ITHCWY: Twenty-Four Hours with Twilio: I've wanted to play with Twilio's voice and SMS service for a while and… http://t.co/KOK0PG2M

Tuesdays http://t.co/BLNiCP3H

Twitter Cuts Off Tumblr's Ability to Find Friends http://t.co/1g3ZcClf

5 of 5 stars to The Last Policeman by Ben H. Winters http://t.co/9NF2nviH

XML: http://t.co/VadVt321 #rofl

Windows 8 Is Now Available For Developers (And For Everybody Else, There’s A 90-Day Free Trial, Too) http://t.co/iu1li6BV

Gotye's YouTube orchestra remix of "Somebody That I Used to Know" http://t.co/OUEXXltQ

ITHCWY: City by the Bay: View from Bernal Hill this afternoon. http://t.co/11cI3ctk

Nice panorama! Curiosity rover: Martian solar day 2 #360pano http://t.co/w1H2ocUm via @360cities

ITHCWY: Share a picture in MonoDroid: Here’s how to share a picture to Facebook, Twitter and so forth from… http://t.co/pByzvjmx

5 of 5 stars to Kill Decision by Daniel Suarez http://t.co/TKgUMNW0

BBC News - Mars rover makes first colour panorama http://t.co/fZ7u8smZ

How Apple and Amazon Security Flaws Led to My Epic Hacking http://t.co/BDmRAbm3

Via KQED Guides: Guide to Bay Area Tidepools: Where to Explore Amazing Marine Life | http://t.co/TDBRDnTD #todo @myEN

ITHCWY: Catfood: WebCams for Android: I’ve just released a WebCam app for Android. It’s based on WebCamSaver but… http://t.co/azZUwkkz

Pay for a new social network with no ads? https://t.co/2tox3c2y Anyone I know going to be on there? #fb

Curiosity http://t.co/D2cyWE66

BBC News - Photo shows Mars rover descent http://t.co/KfOv1qOF

Catfood WebCams for Android - Catfood Software http://t.co/VzeySq90 via @CatfoodSoftware

Check out Catfood WebCams on Google Play! https://t.co/VTU8YiBd

ITHCWY: Not a Private Key: When jarsigner says "Key Associated with [alias] not a private key" it almost certainly… http://t.co/3sk89ENV

ITHCWY: Sending email via GMail in C#/.NET using SmtpClient: I’ve stubbed my toe on this a couple of times, so here… http://t.co/QJ7YjcjI

Help end patent litigation insanity and tell your congress person to back SHIELD. http://t.co/27anadBt

ITHCWY: Support SHIELD–a small measure of patent sanity: A friend pointed me at the SHIELD (PDF) act today. This… http://t.co/ArXHgZ0e

ITHCWY: Thank you for choosing HSA Bank!: No, thank you HSA Bank for not giving me a choice and then cheekily… http://t.co/9torSXCq

Bill would force patent trolls to pay defendants’ legal bills | Ars Technica http://t.co/poB3zzlX +1, via @sr00t

What a happy coincidence. As well as #IPAday it's also goof off at work day: http://t.co/7AItItWq

Apparently it's #IPADay - luckily there's some @21stAmendment in the fridge. http://t.co/jyYPSePC

(Related: The Trust Project, Fake News and a Partial Facebook Uninstall; I didn't think I'd ever fall for fake news on Facebook; More on breaking the Internet)

(You might also like: Reading and Writing Office 365 Excel from a Console app using the Microsoft.Graph C# Client API; Have we Already Proved that the Simulation Hypothesis is False?; Backyard Visits)

(All Book Reviews)

Fight Facebook with Email

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

I was a little saddened to read today that Diaspora is transitioning over to some form of community manged slow death. I joined a pod a while back and was pretty impressed with the design. It was very similar to Google+: clean, nice features, nobody home. 

I've also joined app.net. The concept here is a social network that you pay for, so the owners are aligned with the interests of the users and developers rather than advertisers and lame brands. I wish app.net well, but it's not the future. Best case (and it's not a bad one) it could be the new WELL - a community that people care enough about to pay for (I was on the WELL in the early 90's, splitting the tab with a friend so our handle was abft, account built for two). If that is the direction it goes in then simply having a slightly longer post limit than Twitter isn't really going to cut it. And cool as it might be most people aren't going to pay for a social network. 

Any attempt to displace Facebook has to solve the problem that anyone interested in sharing anything with anyone else is already using Facebook. The only platform that is in any sense comparable is email. So someone needs to make email into a social network.

This could be an interesting startup. Create some account - [email protected] - anything you send directly to that address is a post. Anyone you copy is a mention. Reply to a thread with this email address included and you're replying on the social network as well. Anyone copied on such an email gets invited to the network if they're not already.

You've got a killer viral component and an instant social network that is supported on every platform with no investment needed. Everyone has email, and everyone is a member as soon as they claim their email address or get included in a post. 

Maybe someone has tried this already and I just haven't seen it. I'm half tempted to have a crack at it myself. 

What would be more interesting would be layering a social protocol over email, and implementing that protocol by proxy on top of email providers that don't or won't support it. This creates a core social service practically out of thin air. Facebook and Twitter are the new AOL and CompuServe. There has to be a way to leverage email into a free and open alternative.

(Related: Circles; Is it safe to open securedoc.html (Cisco Registered Envelope)?; Facebook Interoperability)

(You might also like: Scanning from the ADF using WIA in C#; Grabtown Gulch and Borden Hatch Mill in Purisima Creek; WPF commands with nested focus scope)

(All Code Posts)

Twenty-Four Hours with Twilio

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

Twenty-Four Hours with Twilio

I've wanted to play with Twilio's voice and SMS service for a while and finally got the chance at an all night hackathon.

Twilio is almost perfect. Very easy to use, well documented and generous with a self service free trial. They give you enough rope to fully build out a client before you need to think about paying them.

I gave up on AT&T's platform after navigating a bazillion forms before discovering they wanted $99 before I could even get a taste.

The one hitch with Twilio is that the voice transcription they offer is appalling. Just absolute gibberish. Unless it's just my accent, or the hackathon whisky. Seems to be a common complaint though and so to take my IVR app further I'd need to bolt in another solution. A pity given how much Twilio gets right.

(Related: Got It; I Love Email; Twitter's API has got too painful for me)

(You might also like: Ambient Orb Controller .NET Library; Summer Solstice 2013; State of the Micro-ISV-osphere)

(All Code Posts)

City by the Bay

Updated on Thursday, November 12, 2015

City by the Bay

Photo (panorama) of the view from Bernal Hill in San Francisco, California.

(Related: Grand View of Fog; San Francisco; Bay Bridge Approach)

(You might also like: Catfood Earth; Global Temperature Anomalies Animation, 1850 to 2018; Don't show this to me again)

(Recent Photos)

Share a picture in MonoDroid

Updated on Sunday, September 30, 2018

Here’s how to share a picture to Facebook, Twitter and so forth from MonoDroid:

A fun mix of Java and C#. The directory got me to start with so check to see if the ExternalCacheDir is available and if not fall back to the internal CacheDir. Frustratingly Facebook doesn’t pick up on the text associated with an image regardless of the intent ExtraWhatever specified.

(Related: How to backup Google Photos to Google Drive automatically after July 2019 with Apps Script; Get an email when your security camera sees something new (Apps Script + Cloud Vision); Capture DropCam (Nest Cam) frames to Google Drive)

(You might also like: Winter Solstice 2018; Bayview Rise; Bay Snaps)

(All Code Posts)

Catfood: WebCams for Android

Updated on Sunday, September 5, 2021

Catfood WebCams for Android

I’ve just released a WebCam app for Android. It’s based on WebCamSaver but allows you to control the webcam – you tap the edges of the screen to pan, pinch to zoom in and out. A fun little time waster.

This is the first app I’ve released using Xamarin’s MonoDroid framework. This integrates nicely into Visual Studio and allows you to program an Android app in C#. This is fantastic for productivity and code reuse and I enjoyed the process a lot more than previous work I’ve done in Java / Eclipse. The main drawback is that the framework adds around 5MB (significant for mobile) and the documentation isn’t always the best, especially when you search for something and find out you’ve been dumped into iOS reference material. Digging around the sample code and cross-referencing the official Android documentation helps a lot. I’m going to take a stab at something a little more ambitious next…

(Related: ESRI Shapefile Reader in .NET; Capture DropCam (Nest Cam) frames to Google Drive; The Secret Diary of a Xamarin Android Developer, Aged 48 1/3)

(You might also like: Goodreads Feature Request; California and San Francisco June 2016 Propositions; News: The War Nerd: More proof the US defense industry has nothing to do with defending America)

(All Code Posts)

I Thought He Came With You is Robert Ellison's blog.

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