Sunset at the Docks

October 19, 2011 By: erik Category: Colindres, Photography 228 views

Bow HeadFor more months than I’d like to admit, my DSLR’s CCD sensor has been dirty. There were just a few specks of dust, but I had to digitally retouch almost every single photo to remove the digital noise they caused. A couple weeks ago, I decided enough was enough, so I took my lens cloth that came with my sunglasses, flipped up the mirror (the R in DSLR) and wiped off the sensor. Of course this didn’t work at all. Every time I tried to wipe it, I added more debris than I wiped clean. I had to break down and order a sensor cleaning kit, which consists of some Q-tip-looking things the size of the sensor and some sensor cleaning liquid, which smells like it may be entirely made up of rubbing alcohol. I’m guessing that cleaning off the sensor is just something DSLR owners have to do every couple years, like replacing the tires on a car.
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Social Quote Sharing Rant

October 15, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Fighting Stupidity, Internet, Politics 1,697 views

Profound QuoteIt has become very popular lately to post photos of people with profound sounding quotations without thinking about what the words actually mean. If you use Facebook or Twitter or other social sharing sites, you will undoubtedly already know what I’m talking about. It’s sort of the visual internet’s version of a soundbite.
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The Economy and Elections

October 12, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Musings, Politics, USA 164 views

How Humans VoteA few years ago, I came to the realization that modern two-party democracies are like pendulums. Just as gravity will pull a pendulum down towards the center, building up enough momentum to push it to the other extreme, so human voters’ innate human ability to find something to be upset about will pull their votes away from one party and build up enough momentum until the other party has a majority. Rinse and repeat.
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Lipstick with Tí­a Inés

October 12, 2011 By: erik Category: Offspring, Videos 129 views

Lipstick with Tí­a Inés (thumbnail)You know that thing women do with their lips after applying lipstick, rubbing them together, presumably to even out the lipstick? Since I’ve never needed to, I’ve simply never learned to do that. When I try, I look like an idiot – more so than usual – and those facial muscles get exhausted in about two seconds and hurt for another minute. Some of you have already started doing it while you read this, and the rest of you will now. Go ahead…
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How to use AdBlock to bypass The Onion’s paywall

October 07, 2011 By: erik Category: Complaining, Geeky, Internet, Marketing 15,312 views

The Onion Pay WallI’ve been a fan of The Onion for a long time, so I was quite distressed to see that they’ve put up a paywall. Now, when you view more than five articles in thirty days, it pops up a box asking you to pay $2.95/month or $29.95/year for full access. My personal philosophy is that content should be monetized by advertisements and the minority of people that choose to use technology to block those ads just have to be accepted as a loss. With a little HTML investigation, I figured out which elements need to be hidden from the page to disable their fairly weak attempt at securing their content behind a paywall. If you have the popular AdBlock plugin (Firefox, Safari, Chrome) installed, you need only add two rules to your AdBlock settings.
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Cookies Are Not Evil

October 05, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Marketing, Musings 296 views

The Real Cookie Monster, by Jeremy HoffmanThere’s been a bit of an online privacy storm lately over the fact that Facebook doesn’t remove all the cookies from your browser when you log off. Every three or four months, there’s a big “OMG!! Facebook is EVIL and breaching my privacy!” wave that runs over the online community before everyone forgets it and keeps using the service.
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State of the Offspring Address – October 2011

October 03, 2011 By: erik Category: News, Offspring, Photos 2,347 views

Beach GirlNora has taken very, very well to her potty training that we started in June. We’ve had just three bed wettings in the six weeks since returning from her three-week summer vacation and going “off diaper” 24/7. We’ve had a few bowel surprises that weren’t quite anticipated in time to “RUN TO THE POTTY!!” (an exclamation heard often lately). About once a day she lets enough drops of “pee-pee” escape to require a new pair of panties, but the outer garment almost never needs changing. Quite often, she’ll head out of the room like she’s going to get a toy, only to utter, five minutes later from behind a closed bathroom door, a “Poppy! Come limp my bottom!” When I enter, I find her sitting on the toilet with a gigantic, er, “creation” in the bowl beneath her.
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Facebook’s Power: Targeted Ads

October 03, 2011 By: erik Category: Geeky, Internet, Marketing 158 views

Facebook ExclamationFacebook’s genius has been to make it “cool” to “tell all your friends” what movies and products and politics you like, which is exactly the data advertisers are dying to get their hands on.

A few months ago, I placed an ad on Facebook, mainly as an experiment to satisfy my curiosity about how their advertising system works. It was a few days before the British royal wedding, and I had done up a silly little photoshopped image of the bride and groom with their faces swapped, so I decided to see how much traffic I could drive to that page. I told Facebook I was willing to spend up to $10 on the ad over three days (I ended up pulling the plug, curiosity quenched, after spending only $8). Then I got to select who the ad was presented to…and that’s when things got creepy.
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Huevazo – Enormous Egg

September 29, 2011 By: erik Category: Damn, Nature!, Food, Funny, Spain, Videos, Weird 348 views

Big EggEarlier this week, my wife told me that, to celebrate a successful business meeting she was going to have with a client, she wanted to have pork chops and fried eggs for lunch. Then she said, “And save the big egg for me. Don’t use it for any other recipes.” I raised an eyebrow, “The big egg?” She smiled and said, “You’ll know it when you see it.”
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Synchronized Kites in Laredo

September 26, 2011 By: erik Category: Beach, Spain, Stuff I Found, Travel, Videos, Weird 203 views

Synchronized Kite Flying ThumbnailWhen I was sitting on the beach yesterday, I noticed something off in the distance out of the corner of my eye. In a split second, my unconscious pattern recognition neurons decided I’d seen a flock of birds. After several seconds of gazing at the phenomenon a kilometer down the beach, I’d determined that they were too big to be birds, and the flying was too orderly. They must be kites, my brain suggested, but…but…how?? They were flying in perfect formation, up, down, swooping, soaring, diving… What they really reminded me of was Boids, the artificial intelligence algorithm – one of my favorites! – that demonstrates how lifelike natural flocking behavior can be mimicked with very, very few lines of code.
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