Dec 142016

I’ve recently switched from Firefox to Chrome, but I don’t care for the default Chrome “New Tab” page. The Firefox version was never quite what I wanted either, so I decided to make an extension for Chrome to work the way I wanted: a grid with giant buttons for my most visited sites. Here’s my requirements:

  • Extremely simple layout
  • No extraneous features (like weather, todo lists, etc)
  • Easy management of the sites that appear on the page

So here’s the result: Spartan New Tab. I have a few features to add, but it’s usable as it is.

Spartan New Tab page

Spartan New Tab page

Jun 272016

A while back, I decided for some reason that I wanted to make some wooden coasters (the furniture protectors, not the thrilling ride), even though I never use coasters. Being a big Captain America fan, I thought his conveniently shaped shield would make a good pattern (the round one, not this one).

Below are the steps I used to make them.
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Jan 032015

I ran across a unique guitar stringing technique today at a pawn shop. Somehow they managed to run all the strings backwards. I don’t know how they’re attached at the other end. I wonder what they thought those little circles at the end were for. It’s a left-handed guitar, so maybe someone told them they had to string it backwards relative to a right-handed guitar and they misunderstood “backwards”?


Sep 022013

When I was in Brazil last year, I took a bunch of pictures of the view from Cristo Redentor and stitched them together into a panorama.

View of Rio de Janeiro from Cristo Redentor

It was a clear day, but the image gets a bit cloudy in the distance. It’s still fun to search around for interesting details. It’s like a giant Where’s Waldo.

Aug 242013

A couple of years ago, I posted an Android SeekBar preference widget that I’d written. Since then, people have regularly posted fixes and enhancements. This is a new version that includes those fixes. I decided to make a new post because the thread on the old one was getting a bit long, and hopefully those problems will be gone now. Special thanks to Yair from KwazyLabs for layout updates that should make the widget behave itself when the theme is not the default.

Here’s v2 of the preference, as it appears in Dislexicon:

SeekBar Preference v2

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Mar 092013

I’ve posted new versions of both Weatherspect and Asciiquarium, so the three people on the internet who still care about ASCII art will be thrilled.

Weatherspect v1.11 just distributes some of the critters in the trees, instead of having everything walk along the bottom of the screen.

Asciiquarium v1.1 (only 8 years after 1.0!) adds a few new random creatures, plus a fish hook that will occasionally snag an unwary fish.

Oct 062012

I ran across this artifact from a bygone era the other day, and went searching for the story behind it. Surprisingly, I could find no pictures of it, so I decided to record it for posterity. Now future generations will know that terrible computer jokes existed long before facebook, when cavemen had to physically pass the jokes to one another like the very floppy disks the DiskProtek was made to defend.

The only reference to the DiskProtek that I’ve found at all is this trademark registration. It looks like it’s expired and is available for the low price of $159 if you’d like to enter the lucrative Archaic Computer Novelty business.

It hasn’t held up very well, but it’s probably close to 20 years old, so it’s a wonder it isn’t a bag full of dust at this point. Obviously the DiskProtek corporation produced a quality product.

Read on for the text from the back.

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May 102012

If you search for instructions on cropping in Audacity, you’ll get a lot of people explaining how to do two things that you don’t want to do:

1. Remove a selected section (that is, cutting, the opposite of cropping)
2. Save a selection to a file

If you just want to select a range and remove everything on both sides, neither of those pieces of advice help. The confusion is caused by people answering questions they don’t understand, and the fact that Audacity uses the term “Trim” instead of crop. Of course, if you read an article like this one, you will be even more confused, because he uses the term “Trim” to mean Cut!

Anyhow, all you have to do is select the range you want, then Edit -> Remove Audio -> Trim. Or just hit Ctrl-T.