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Posts Tagged ‘Heck’

26 Nuclear Power Plants In Hurricane Sandy’s Path

October 29th, 2012 10:25 admin View Comments

News

pigrabbitbear writes “Hurricane Sandy is about to ruin a bunch of people’s Mondays. In New York City alone, the storm has already shut down public transportation, forced tens of thousands to relocate to higher ground and compelled even more office jockeys to work from home. (Okay, that last part might not be so bad, especially for the folks that don’t actually have to work at all.) But if it knocks out power to any of the 26 nuclear power plants that lie directly in its path, the frankenstorm of the century will ruin Tuesday, too. Heck, a nuclear meltdown would be a much bigger problem.”

Source: 26 Nuclear Power Plants In Hurricane Sandy’s Path

Next Gen Auto UI: How German Engineering and Silicon Valley Wackiness Might Redefine the Way You Drive

May 2nd, 2012 05:00 admin View Comments

Tesla thinks knobs are sooo 20th century, and Mercedes wants to put your car in a cloud. After decades of false starts and minor tweaks, connected cars are on their way. While Audi’s gesture-based dashboard is still a few years off, the auto industry is finally making fundamental changes to the way you interact with your car, and they’re available right now. It’s about time.

Today’s cars have hybrid engines, automatic traction control, antilock brakes and GPS navigation. They even drive and park themselves. Your grandfather’s car had an AM radio, a stick shift and a hemi.

For more on advanced automobile UI systems, check out ReadWriteWeb’s series on Connected Cars.

Modern cars and their ancestors have about as much in common as an iPhone and an Apple II, so why do we still operate them the same way? Because for all their advancements in safety, comfort and performance, the auto industry hates change inside the cockpit, and just about every time someone comes up with a nifty idea, the industry chuckles and turns away.

The only thing holding the industry’s attention has been the overwhelming success of modern digital devices, from smartphones to tablets, which is convincing automakers that they risk becoming obsolete and irrelevant. Already, many millennials see cars not as the ticket to freedom and self-expression but as an expensive hassle.

The global auto industry is beginning to realize the need to embrace modernity in a substantial, practical way. Leading the charge are the world’s oldest automaker and one of the newest.

Playing Catch-Up

This spring, Mercedes is launching mbrace2, a vehicle control and monitoring platform that spans the auto’s touchscreen, iOS and Android mobile applications, and remote assistance services. Since our preview of its features in January, the ongoing buzz has been that mbrace2 is consistent with a high-end brand like Mercedes. However, its most important feature has nothing to do with its apps. The genius is in the architecture. mbrace2 accepts firmware updates through the cloud, allowing Mercedes to update its fleet wirelessly and instantly. While this opens potential security holes (malware, anyone?), the concept holds a lot of potential.

In addition to delivering performance updates and bug fixes in real-time, Mercedes’ developers could deliver entirely new interfaces to users based on interface testing, car geography or usage patterns. Mercedes will eliminate the necessity of a dealer touchpoint, maintaining a consistent relationship with the user experience wherever the owner goes.

On closer shores, Tesla Motors is attempting to fulfill its cofounder Elon Musk’s goal of having a car that is “actually, in some respects, ahead of what you have as your computer or personal electronics device.” Tesla’s Model S sedan and Model X SUV will both feature massive 17” touchscreens designed to manage climate control, entertainment systems and other traditional dashboard functions. The screen will also support third-party application development and allow users to plug in external devices via USB (though the full depth of external integration has yet to be determined).

There are two big things going on here. First, for better or worse, Tesla has gone all in on the touchscreen paradigm, showing guts that more traditional elements of the industry usually lack. The other news is the screen size. 17 inches is big for a laptop, and enormous for a tablet. A bigger screen means better visibility and less time spent searching for features when you should be watching the road. It also suggests the user experience of certain tablet functions – like Web browsing – could actually be better in your car than on your iPad.

Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla has decided (wisely) to use its own custom hardware for the core interface, rather than simply allowing remote control from a third-party device. A closed ecosystem has fewer variables, granting a level of stability and consistency that really isn’t optional in an automobile. For noncritical systems like music, go crazy and support what you like. For traction control, stick with the OEM.

The Future Is Flat

Like everything Tesla makes, its tablet controls are beautiful and seductive. If they prove popular, expect massive tablets to work their way down the food chain, displacing physical knobs and switches in more pedestrian vehicles.

While these will initially surface as somewhat clunky bolt-on options, luxury models of many car lines could soon be sporting Tesla-like tablet dashboards.

That’s not necessarily a good thing.

Tablets, of whatever size, require two things to work properly: eyeballs and fingers. A gesture-aware tablet needs even more of both. In a moving car, you could argue that eyeballs should be on the road and fingers should be on the wheel. Heck, distracted driving is already enough of a problem to warrant its own domain: distraction.gov.

Tesla mitigates these risks by directing some of the tablet’s content to the driver’s console and giving a nod to complementary voice controls. But Tesla wouldn’t be investing so much in the tablet if it weren’t the company’s go-to UI for the near future.

Ford and other automakers are actually pretty far along with voice controls as a primary interface, and these have potential to become useful additions to today’s familiar tactile knobs and switches. But thumbs-up to Tesla for trying something big, because it’s about time today’s cars were cooler than our grandfathers’.

For more on advanced automobile UI systems, check out ReadWriteWeb’s series on Connected Cars.

Lead image courtesy of Shutterstock. Tesla image from TeslaMotors.com.

Source: Next Gen Auto UI: How German Engineering and Silicon Valley Wackiness Might Redefine the Way You Drive

These People are Ruining the Future of the Internet

April 27th, 2012 04:01 admin View Comments

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) last night by a vote of 248-168. In the days leading up to the vote, opposition lined up drummed up awareness for the bill while the groups supporting the bill steadily pushed ahead. In the end, 112 Congress members cosponsored the bill. Major technology corporations also lent support along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Did your representative support CISPA? See the list below. 

Top photo, clockwise from top left: Benjamin Quayle, Michele Bachmann, Mike Rogers, Darrell Issa, Peter King, Sue Wilkins Myrick, Dutch Ruppersberger, Greg Walden.

Twenty major tech companies have sent letters supporting CISPA along with major U.S. industry trade groups including the Bay Area Council, TechAmerica, 11 financial trade associations and TechNet. These companies and groups represent billions of dollars in American industry, dollars that members of Congress will need to eventually be re-elected. Below we have aggregated the names of every single Congressional cosponsor of CISPA along with the links to their personal websites. The list is organized by date of stated support of the bill, starting with the first round of Congress members that supported the bill when it was introduced in November 2011. The first round had 28 official cosponsors. The majority of the 112 sponsors offered support from January 18 through April 17.

CISPA went through the mark up process in the Committee on Intelligence, of which the bills two primary authors, Representatives Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, are members. Amendments included language the would protect citizens from damage caused by the sharing of information as well as adding the term “utilities” to the list of private sector industries that can share cyber threat information with the federal government. The addition of utilities, such as water, electric and gas companies, was seen as a boost to the bill as such utilities are part of the critical infrastructure of the United States and are targets of malicious hackers. The House of Representatives then voted for the amendments before passing the final bill and sending it to the Senate and ultimately the White House.  Is your Congress person on the list? See who supported CISPA below.

Original Supporters (November 30, 2011)

Rep Ruppersberger, C. A. Dutch [MD-2]

Rep King, Peter T. NY-3]

Rep Upton, Fred [MI-6] 

Rep Myrick, Sue Wilkins [NC-9]

Rep Langevin, James R. [RI-2] 

Rep Conaway, K. Michael [TX-11] 

Rep Miller, Jeff [FL-1] 

Rep Boren, Dan [OK-2]

Rep LoBiondo, Frank A. [NJ-2]

Rep Chandler, Ben [KY-6]

Rep Nunes, Devin [CA-21]

Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4]

Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3]1 

Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6] 

Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-16]

Rep Heck, Joseph J. [NV-3] 

Rep Dicks, Norman D. [WA-6]

Rep McCaul, Michael T. [TX-10]

Rep Walden, Greg [OR-2]

Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-44]

Rep Shimkus, John [IL-19]

Rep Terry, Lee [NE-2]

Rep Burgess, Michael C. [TX-26]

Rep Gingrey, Phil [GA-11]

Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-1]

Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-11]

Rep Amodei, Mark E. [NV-2] 

Rep Pompeo, Mike [KS-4]

Second Wave (December 2011)

Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5]

Rep Quayle, Benjamin [AZ-3]

Rep McHenry, Patrick T. [NC-10]

Rep Frelinghuysen, Rodney P. [NJ-11]

Rep Yoder, Kevin [KS-3]

Rep Walberg, Tim [MI-7]

Rep Camp, Dave [MI-4]

Rep Eshoo, Anna G. [CA-14]

Rep Michaud, Michael H. [ME-2]

Gaining Steam (January/February 2012)

Rep McMorris Rodgers, Cathy [WA-5]

Rep Sullivan, John [OK-1]

Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1]

Rep Ros-Lehtinen, Ileana [FL-18]

Rep Coffman, Mike [CO-6]

Rep Goodlatte, Bob [VA-6]

Rep Wolf, Frank R. [VA-10]

Rep Forbes, J. Randy [VA-4]

Rep Miller, Gary G. [CA-42]

Rep Stearns, Cliff [FL-6]

Rep Issa, Darrell E. [CA-49]

Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4]

Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-3]

Rep Brooks, Mo [AL-5]

Rep Huizenga, Bill [MI-2]

Rep Carter, John R. [TX-31]

Rep Hartzler, Vicky [MO-4]

Rep Grimm, Michael G. [NY-13] 

Rep Miller, Candice S. [MI-10]

Rep Guthrie, Brett [KY-2] 

Rep Rogers, Mike D. [AL-3] 

Rep Benishek, Dan [MI-1]

Rep Broun, Paul C. [GA-10]

Rep Lance, Leonard [NJ-7]

Rep Hastings, Doc [WA-4] 

Rep Davis, Geoff [KY-4]

Rep Meehan, Patrick [PA-7]

Rep Shuster, Bill [PA-9] 

Rep Olson, Pete [TX-22]

Rep Kline, John [MN-2]

Rep Bono Mack, Mary [CA-45]

Rep Bachus, Spencer [AL-6]

Rep Schock, Aaron [IL-18]

Rep Roe, David P. [TN-1]

Rep Fleischmann, Charles J. “Chuck” [TN-3]

Rep Baca, Joe [CA-43]

Rep Boswell, Leonard L. [IA-3]

Rep Noem, Kristi L. [SD]

On the Bandwagon (March/April 2012)

Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1]

Rep Hultgren, Randy [IL-14] 

Rep Blackburn, Marsha [TN-7] 

Rep Hastings, Alcee L. [FL-23]

Rep Hurt, Robert [VA-5]

Rep Johnson, Bill [OH-6]

Rep Smith, Adrian [NE-3] 

Rep Crawford, Eric A. “Rick” [AR-1] 

Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-2] 

Rep Larsen, Rick [WA-2] 

Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13]

Rep Towns, Edolphus [NY-10]

Rep Bordallo, Madeleine Z. [GU]

Rep Ross, Mike [AR-4]

Rep Cooper, Jim [TN-5]

Rep Pitts, Joseph R. [PA-16]

Rep Runyan, Jon [NJ-3]

Rep Costa, Jim [CA-20] 

Rep Cardoza, Dennis A. [CA-18] 

Rep Woodall, Rob [GA-7]

Rep Bartlett, Roscoe G. [MD-6]

Rep Shuler, Heath [NC-11]

Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15]

Rep Wilson, Joe [SC-2]

Rep McIntyre, Mike [NC-7]

Rep Kissell, Larry [NC-8]

Rep Scalise, Steve [LA-1]

Rep Bilbray, Brian P. [CA-50]

Rep Griffith, H. Morgan [VA-9]

Rep Peterson, Collin C. [MN-7]

Rep Owens, William L. [NY-23] 

Rep Mulvaney, Mick [SC-5]

Rep Hall, Ralph M. [TX-4]

Rep Cuellar, Henry [TX-28]

Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5]

Rep Austria, Steve [OH-7]

Rep McKeon, Howard P. “Buck” [CA-25]

 

Source: These People are Ruining the Future of the Internet

Users Spend More Time On Myspace Than Google+

February 28th, 2012 02:03 admin View Comments

Social Networks

pigrabbitbear writes “Google is boasting that more than 90 million people have signed up for its Google+. Those are pretty impressive numbers. I mean, if you had 90 million people at your disposal, you could do anything. You’d rule the Internet. Except there’s one little problem: No one is using the site. The Wall Street Journal has the hard, unfiltered truth: According to comScore numbers, users spent an average of 3 minutes on G+ in the entire month of January. Facebook users spent 405 minutes, or nearly 7 hours, on the site. People managed to find 17 minutes to spare to add connections on LinkedIn. Heck, even Myspace users — many of whom are probably ghost accounts — surfed for eight minutes over the month.”

Source: Users Spend More Time On Myspace Than Google+

Google Plus Motorola: The Gadget Geek’s Dream Scenario

February 28th, 2012 02:30 admin View Comments

android-booth-mwc-2012.jpgFor the second Mobile World Congress in a row, Google’s Android booth is the coolest in Barcelona. Not just because it’s big and bright, and features free snacks, but because it epitomizes Google’s geekiness.

There’s the same slide to whiz down as Google had last year, and the same free smoothies. But this year, Google has also added a big robot that’s crafting jewel-encrusted Galaxy Nexus faceplates while people watch. There are Android-shaped ice cream sandwiches, to honor the current “Ice Cream Sandwich” version of Android. And there are now two Android-tablet-powered claw-game machines. People have been waiting in line all day to try to win Google goodies, like stuffed Android dolls.

See: it’s geeky! And that’s why it’s suddenly so exciting to this gadget geek that Google is acquiring Motorola.

Here’s the best-case, dream scenario: That after Google and Motorola get over the awkwardness of their combination, they actually start producing some really cool, really nerdy, really futuristic gadgets.

Why? Because Google’s founders and employees are among the smartest, geekiest engineers in the world. They can see the future before a lot of us. They are already dreaming up crazy new devices that aren’t necessarily practical or necessary but could be really, really cool.

And now that they have a hardware company that they own, that they can feel comfortable rejecting products from until they’re really good enough, they might actually be able to deliver some of these things to us geeks.

google-booth-sandwiches.jpg

Last week, when the New York Times reported that Google is really working on computerized glasses, my instinct was to make fun of Google. Just as I might have when it was reported that Google is also working on some sort of computerized speaker system. Because it’s easy to say, “oh, it’s just those crazy Google guys at it again! Wasting time when they should be working!”

But after thinking about it for a few minutes, I changed my mind. Why shouldn’t glasses run software and have cameras and cell service in the future? And why shouldn’t Google be building that sort of stuff?

Heck, Google’s probably one of the only companies that’s smart enough to actually do something like that the right way. And it’s definitely one of the only companies that’s rich enough to fund wacky experiments like these as side projects. Maybe they’ll actually be cool, useful, or world-changing. And if not, then it’s on to the next ones.

motorola-booth-mwc.jpg

Here in Barcelona, Motorola’s booth is a short walk around the corner from Google’s. It’s in a big room and it’s nice enough. There’s a display of Android tablets, some props that you can use to test a Motorola phone’s durability against sand and water, and there is an odd display of people exercising on stage to promote the “MOTOACTV” fitness products.

It’s fine. But it’s nothing special. Sort of like the devices Motorola has been shipping for the last few years. Better than the dark ages after the RAZR burned out, but not the sort of devices you’d pick up and say, “whoa, this is the future.”

And that’s where Google plus Motorola has potential to do truly unique things. Maybe not as Motorola’s main focus; it seems that there will still be a meat-and-potatoes business, where it makes handsets and tablets for carriers, the way it does now. But if part of Motorola’s role could be to serve as Google’s gadget lab, making cool, geeky products that actually ship, that could be fun for us geeks.

Google has made a lot of noise that it’s going to keep Motorola separate, run it at an arm’s length, etc., so as to avoid angering its hundreds of Android partners and probably a few governments. Google has “literally built a firewall” between its Android team and Motorola, Android boss Andy Rubin told reporters here in Barcelona yesterday.

But we can dream!

Source: Google Plus Motorola: The Gadget Geek’s Dream Scenario

Infographic: What the Heck is an LLC?

January 20th, 2012 01:00 admin View Comments

intuit-llc-150.jpgThe kind folks at Intuit have posted this infographic on their blog this week that describes what a limited liability corporation is and how it stacks up to other kinds of corporate entities. It couldn’t come at a better time for my family, as my wife is considering expanding her own business and wants to investigate her options. LLCs are great if you want to limit the amount of bookkeeping you have to do and if you don’t mind paying self-employment taxes. A better choice for larger businesses is an S Corporation (which is what I have used over the past several decades) which has more books to keep but also more flexibility when it comes to how your income is taxed too.

llc.pngThanks Intuit for putting together a great amount of information in one place.

Source: Infographic: What the Heck is an LLC?

2012 Predictions: Richard MacManus

December 21st, 2011 12:25 admin View Comments

ReadWriteWeb is all about what’s next on the Web, so our team has been busy making their predictions for next year. Before I began writing my own, I took a look back at my predictions 12 months ago. Predictably, I had mixed success. But that’s a lot of the fun with predictions. Why not make some bold bets on the future, because that’s in the spirit of Silicon Valley. Plus it makes you think about what you wish will happen. Maybe, just maybe, a startup or bigco will make it happen for you.

This year I have 5 more predictions (and a bonus silly one). Leave a comment with your own predictions, to see if you can out-seer me!

First here’s a brief summary of how I did with my predictions last year, marking myself up to 1 point for each:

  • 1: Flipboard becomes the breakout news reading app of 2011. While Flipboard continued to expand, it was slow to move onto other platforms. The iPhone app didn’t appear until December. 1/2 point.
  • 2: eBooks will hit 20% market penetration by the end of 2011. The figure was 9.03% at the end of 2010, according to the Association of American Publishers. I got this one spot on, as AAP’s most recent stats put the figure at 20.76%. 1 point.
  • 3: Internet of Cars will be the surprise hit of the year. The Internet of Things continued to slowly build and car manufacturers like Ford iterated on their Internet functionality. While I’m tempted to claim Google’s driverless car prototype as a win, the reality is that my bullish prediction didn’t happen. 0 points.
  • 4: Internet TV tips and gets huge consumer uptake. Hmmm, Google TV bombed and Apple TV remains a hobby… for now. Maybe in 2012 it will tip? I’ll give myself 1/2 point for the success of TV-focused social apps.
  • 5: A major pop music star will do something amazing with web technologies, that blows open the online music scene. While it didn’t come from a major current pop star, like Lady Gaga or Kanye West, I believe that we saw a really amazing use of web technologies in Bjork’s 2011 album, Biophilia. The album was an iOS app, with an interactive app for each song. OK, it didn’t blow open the music scene. But it’s a sign of the future. 1/2 point.

Result: 2.5/5. I’m a bit disappointed in that. But as I said at the start, it’s all in good fun. So here I go again, with 5 more predictions!

2012 Predictions

1. This year’s Best BigCo, Amazon.com, will launch a media-focused social network. Kind of like what MySpace used to be. It will be to a place for you to socialize around your reading, listening and viewing activities.

2. Twitter’s usage will begin to wane, due to squeezing from Facebook and Google+. Maybe then Twitter will sell to Apple. Heck, predictions are no place for maybes. I predict Apple will buy Twitter!

3. Google’s Chrome browser will make dramatic inroads into Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, coming within 10-15% of it by the end of 2012. This will be due to mainstream people finally abandoning IE in droves. By the end of 2012, Chrome will have close to 30% of the market according to Net Applications (it currently has 17.6%) and IE will have just over 40% (it currently has 52.6%).

4. Facebook will have initial teething problems with its Timeline, but by end of 2012 it will be seen as a triumph – as millions of people begin to use Facebook over 2012 as their digital memory bank. I don’t know if that’s a brave (new world?) prediction or not, but right now there are a lot of skeptics about Timeline. So I’m firmly betting on Timeline being a big success for Facebook in 2012.

5. Music acts will start to truly tap into the power of the iTunes LP. Currently most iTunes LP releases are simply a PDF file with a bonus video if you’re lucky. I predict that in 2012 many more bands and musicians will include multimedia in their digital albums and the braver ones will try to emulate Bjork and create stunning “app albums”. This is a bit of a re-hash of my music prediction last year, but I really want to see widespread innovation in the digital album!

6. Bonus prediction: Bill Nguyen of Color fame will convince Silicon Valley VCs to part with $100 million, to fund an amazing new type of smart TV. It will have 4D, Internet telepathy and a revolutionary new “smell this” feature. RWW Editor-in-Chief Richard MacManus will thoughtfully blog that it may be “the next Google.” The TV will flop before the ink is dry on the last VC cheque. A few months later, the futuristic telly will be re-branded as a way to consume Facebook frictionless sharing “on the big screen.”

[p.s. I love Bill's spirit, I really do. I hope he does try for another New New Thing in 2012!]

Those are my predictions, now let me know yours :)

Source: 2012 Predictions: Richard MacManus

How To Use Calepin, the Easiest Blog Tool in the World

November 23rd, 2011 11:48 admin View Comments

calepin150.jpgI just fell in love with Calepin. It’s a blogging tool that gives you an instant, minimal website using two of geeks’ favorite little helpers: Dropbox and Markdown. It is nerdy, but only a little bit, and I’ll talk you through the whole thing. By the end of this short tutorial, I bet you’ll want one.

First, you need an account. Go to Calepin.co and register your user name. It’s early; you can probably get whatever you want. Next, log in with Dropbox. Calepin will create a folder in your Dropbox that it will watch for text files written in Markdown. When you click the big ‘Publish’ button on the Calepin site, it will publish all the documents as a blog at [user name].calepin.co. Here’s mine, for example. The blog’s appearance is spare and relaxing. It’s a great place to just stick your thoughts up on the Web. Don’t know what a Dropbox or a Markdown is? Don’t worry. You’ll quickly get the gist.

calepinscreenshot.png

What The Heck’s A Dropbox?

dropbox150.jpgIf you don’t have a Dropbox account, you’ll want one. Think of Dropbox as a folder on your computer that syncs to the cloud. Our editor-in-chief, Richard MacManus, just wrote a great tutorial about cloud storage services that will teach you all the reasons you’d want Dropbox or something like it.

As you’ll see in that post, there are several choices, but I recommend Dropbox, especially if you want to use Calepin. You can use Dropbox.com to manage it from the Web, but it’s also a free desktop application that lets you treat it just like a normal folder on your computer that syncs automatically. You get 2GB of space for free, and that’s plenty for a blog.

Ready to sign up now? I did refer you, so you could consider signing up through my referral link (winky face), so I can get a little more space in mine. If you don’t want to indulge me, just go to Dropbox.com to sign up.

Markdown? That sounds scary.

I promise Markdown isn’t scary. It’s an easy, human-readable way to format text for the Web. Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber invented it. For our purposes here, all you need to know about it is that it’s much cleaner and easier than HTML. But it’s important to know that Markdown understands HTML. If you forget how to do something in Markdown, you can always do it the old-fashioned HTML way. Here’s an example of what Markdown looks like:

To write:

Hello, there! This is an introduction to Markdown. It's really easy to use, and I promise you'll LOVE it!

This is all you need:

**Hello, there!** This is an introduction to [Markdown][1]. It's *really* easy to use, and I promise you'll ***LOVE*** it!

[1]: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/

Isn’t that nice and easy to read? It’s also really powerful; you can do pretty much anything you’d need HTML to do, and Calepin will turn it into Web-ready HTML without you having to worry about it. You can learn everything you need to know in Daring Fireball’s Markdown tutorial. I write all my RWW posts in Markdown, and I write faster, less stressfully and with fewer errors than I ever had in HTML before.

calepin.jpg

Now Put Them All Together!

To post to your Calepin blog, you just write up your post using any plain text editor you want and save it as a .md file in the Calepin folder in your Dropbox. Want to use images? No problem. You can at least insert an image using Markdown, or you can just use HTML if you need more control over it. You can host the image on a free service like Imgur, or you can even put it in your Dropbox public folder. Either way, just grab the URL and put it in your blog post. Then log in to Calepin.co and click the big ‘Publish’ button, and your posts will go right up on the Web.

That’s it! You’ve got a blog. Mine’s jonm.calepin.co. What’s yours?

Calepin is powered by Pelican, an anagram of “Calepin” that is also an open-source weblog generator written in Python. If you’re interested, you can view or fork the source code on Github. Future features include a few themes, as well as respect for a /theme folder for your own, and custom domains.

Oceans of thanks to Merlin Mann, the Internet wizard who turned me onto Calepin. He recently made fun of me on this podcast. Back To Work is a show that will teach you about writing, the Internet and getting better at stuff. I listen every week, and you should too.

Source: How To Use Calepin, the Easiest Blog Tool in the World

How To Use Calepin, the Easiest Blog Tool in the World

November 23rd, 2011 11:48 admin View Comments

calepin150.jpgI just fell in love with Calepin. It’s a blogging tool that gives you an instant, minimal website using two of geeks’ favorite little helpers: Dropbox and Markdown. It is nerdy, but only a little bit, and I’ll talk you through the whole thing. By the end of this short tutorial, I bet you’ll want one.

First, you need an account. Go to Calepin.co and register your user name. It’s early; you can probably get whatever you want. Next, log in with Dropbox. Calepin will create a folder in your Dropbox that it will watch for text files written in Markdown. When you click the big ‘Publish’ button on the Calepin site, it will publish all the documents as a blog at [user name].calepin.co. Here’s mine, for example. The blog’s appearance is spare and relaxing. It’s a great place to just stick your thoughts up on the Web. Don’t know what a Dropbox or a Markdown is? Don’t worry. You’ll quickly get the gist.

calepinscreenshot.png

What The Heck’s A Dropbox?

dropbox150.jpgIf you don’t have a Dropbox account, you’ll want one. Think of Dropbox as a folder on your computer that syncs to the cloud. Our editor-in-chief, Richard MacManus, just wrote a great tutorial about cloud storage services that will teach you all the reasons you’d want Dropbox or something like it.

As you’ll see in that post, there are several choices, but I recommend Dropbox, especially if you want to use Calepin. You can use Dropbox.com to manage it from the Web, but it’s also a free desktop application that lets you treat it just like a normal folder on your computer that syncs automatically. You get 2GB of space for free, and that’s plenty for a blog.

Ready to sign up now? I did refer you, so you could consider signing up through my referral link (winky face), so I can get a little more space in mine. If you don’t want to indulge me, just go to Dropbox.com to sign up.

Markdown? That sounds scary.

I promise Markdown isn’t scary. It’s an easy, human-readable way to format text for the Web. Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber invented it. For our purposes here, all you need to know about it is that it’s much cleaner and easier than HTML. But it’s important to know that Markdown understands HTML. If you forget how to do something in Markdown, you can always do it the old-fashioned HTML way. Here’s an example of what Markdown looks like:

To write:

Hello, there! This is an introduction to Markdown. It's really easy to use, and I promise you'll LOVE it!

This is all you need:

**Hello, there!** This is an introduction to [Markdown][1]. It's *really* easy to use, and I promise you'll ***LOVE*** it!

[1]: http://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/

Isn’t that nice and easy to read? It’s also really powerful; you can do pretty much anything you’d need HTML to do, and Calepin will turn it into Web-ready HTML without you having to worry about it. You can learn everything you need to know in Daring Fireball’s Markdown tutorial. I write all my RWW posts in Markdown, and I write faster, less stressfully and with fewer errors than I ever had in HTML before.

calepin.jpg

Now Put Them All Together!

To post to your Calepin blog, you just write up your post using any plain text editor you want and save it as a .md file in the Calepin folder in your Dropbox. Want to use images? No problem. You can at least insert an image using Markdown, or you can just use HTML if you need more control over it. You can host the image on a free service like Imgur, or you can even put it in your Dropbox public folder. Either way, just grab the URL and put it in your blog post. Then log in to Calepin.co and click the big ‘Publish’ button, and your posts will go right up on the Web.

That’s it! You’ve got a blog. Mine’s jonm.calepin.co. What’s yours?

Calepin is powered by Pelican, an anagram of “Calepin” that is also an open-source weblog generator written in Python. If you’re interested, you can view or fork the source code on Github. Future features include a few themes, as well as respect for a /theme folder for your own, and custom domains.

Oceans of thanks to Merlin Mann, the Internet wizard who turned me onto Calepin. He recently made fun of me on this podcast. Back To Work is a show that will teach you about writing, the Internet and getting better at stuff. I listen every week, and you should too.

Source: How To Use Calepin, the Easiest Blog Tool in the World

Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator

November 17th, 2011 11:18 admin View Comments

The Military

Hugh Pickens writes “In an age of drones and lightweight weaponry, the U.S. Air Force’s purchase of the first batch of 30,000-pound bombs designed to pulverize underground enemy hide-outs highlights the military’s need to go after hard and deeply buried targets. The weapon’s explosive power is 10 times greater than its bunker-buster predecessor, the BLU-109 and it is nearly five tons heavier than the 22,600-pound GBU-43 MOAB surface bomb, sometimes called the ‘mother of all bombs.’ ‘Our past test experience has shown that 2,000-pound penetrators carrying 500 pounds of high explosive are relatively ineffective against tunnels, even when skipped directly into the tunnel entrance,’ says a 2004 Pentagon report on the Future Strategic Strike Force. ‘Instead, several thousand pounds of high explosives coupled to the tunnel are needed to blow down blast doors and propagate a lethal air blast throughout a typical tunnel complex‘ (PDF). Experts note that the military disclosed delivery of the new bunker-busting bomb less than a week after a United Nations agency warned that Iran was secretly working to develop a nuclear weapon and is known to have hidden nuclear complexes that are fortified with steel and concrete, and buried under mountains. ‘Heck of a coincidence, isn’t it?’ says John Pike, director of Globalsecurity.org.”

Source: Boeing Delivers Massive Ordnance Penetrator

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