Posts Tagged as: blog

May 14, 2013

Iris Has Free Time

Hot off the presses is the first book by Iris Smyles, Iris Has Free Time.

Of writers, people often says they’re the “voice of a generation” and other platitudes meant to sell books, but in Iris’ case she might be the genuine article. Plus, I know her in real life which makes me pretty cool.

Check out the book – it’s a fantastic read.

May 13, 2013

Kanye West Hitting His Head Ringtone

Apparently Kanye West hit his head while trying to avoid photographers today. So I thought it would be pretty cool if I made a ringtone from it.

Here’s the official Kanye West Hitting His Head Ringtone. Download it and have some fun.

April 6, 2013

The Funniest People on Vine

To me, Vine is a proving ground for some seriously funny people. Some of these folks you might know, others you definitely don’t. Fire up your iPhone and follow these goons immediately.

Jacy Catlin
I definitely get a Rob Delaney vibe from this guy. He plays a great straight man. I love when he shows off his tattoos and reviews nasal mist.

Will Sasso
Recently infamous for his lemon videos, he also does a mean Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.

Max Burlingame
Outrageous, shameless, and sloppy. The humor is a bit “high school” but it works great with the 6 second format. Also love his take on the Will Sasso lemon thing.

Chris Delia
Yeah, he’s the guy from “Whitney” but he’s a pretty good standup comic. I love when he dares people to get close to strangers with their phones.

Jerome Jarre
This French entrepreneur isn’t a comedian, but there’s something about his aloofness that cracks me up. I’m surprised his signature move of yelling in public, then showing his big smiling face hasn’t become a meme like planking.

Nicholas Megalis
Creepy, offbeat, and gnarly like that high school kid who set things on fire. He also sings a lot.

James Urbaniak
An esteemed voice-actor. Kind of a John Hodgeman vibe.

Ry Doon
A commedian from Boston. He can be extremely irritating, but he does a great Jay-Z impression, among others.

Nick Confalone
Uses his baby to craft fun little short stories.

Jordan Burt
Apparently he’s big on YouTube. Plays a great nerd. The first time I saw Dennis I nearly shat myself.

Michael LoPriore
Gangsta slapstick.

April 5, 2013

Listening to a Record from a Photograph

This blew my mind. Apparently it’s possible to use a photograph of a record and get an audible recording from it.

The step-by-step process illustrated in this article called Extracting Audio from Pictures makes sense once it’s broken down. Basically you convert the round image of the grooves into a straight line…

…then you use Photoshop to boost the contrast of the lines, which become the actual waveforms you feed into ImageToSound software.

Amazing stuff. I often wonder about future generations being able to eavesdrop on people in the past by using leaps in technology.

For example on this Wikipedia page about Archaeoacoustics:

Gregory Benford’s 1979 short story “Time Shards” concerns a researcher who recovers thousand-year-old sound from a piece of pottery thrown on a wheel and inscribed with a fine wire as it spun. The sound is then analyzed to reveal conversations between the potter and his assistant in Middle English.

The idea that people’s voices would have unknowingly been recorded onto the bowl like a modern day record, locked away until a future generation figures out how to extract the audio, is awesome. True, Mythbusters busted this myth, but I wouldn’t fully discount the general concept of learning more from old data with better and better tools. (Think the dino DNA in Jurassic Park.)

Taking that pottery example further, I wonder if when I take a photo with my iPhone, a future generation will be able to determine my mood that day by examining whatever minuscule image artifacts my brainwaves caused in the image sensor.

It sounds crazy, but not much crazier than one ancient potter telling his buddy to keep his voice down so the future can’t eavesdrop on their clay.

March 25, 2013

Understanding MD5 Hashes and Security

Geek confession here. Before today I had a sorry understanding of what MD5 hashes were, and how they related to passwords and online security.

All I knew was they had something to do with obscuring your password so it could’t be cracked. Or something.

But after skimming a fascinating article on Ars Technica called How I became a password hacker I decided that ignorance was no longer an option.

So it turns out an MD5 is just a specific type of “cryptographic hash function“, which means it’s a one-way function; you can’t figure out what went into it just by looking at what came out of it. Badass.

This graphic (via Wikipedia) sums it up pretty nicely. (The “Input” represents a password, and the “Digest” represents a hash.)

It turns out you can make MD5s yourself pretty easily. Do something like this on your command line (or you can just Google for “MD5 Generator”), and you can start to play around with making hashes. You’ll see that no matter what you use as your input, you get 32 characters of crap:

$ echo -n “hello world” | md5
$ 5eb63bbbe01eeed093cb22bb8f5acdc3

$ echo -n “helloooooooooooo world!” | md5
$ 9fa764163c098ec3374ef0c3f7419524

So again, that’s the secret. The magic is the crap. Those 32 characters are so crappy and so random, no amount of computing power can reverse-engineer it back into your password. And the other crucial piece of the pie: Your password is the only piece of input that will consistently produce that exact same piece of crap.

So how does this relate to passwords and security? Reading this blurb on the Wikipedia page made it all click for me:

Alice poses a tough math problem to Bob and claims she has solved it. Bob would like to try it himself, but would yet like to be sure that Alice is not bluffing. Therefore, Alice writes down her solution, computes its hash and tells Bob the hash value (whilst keeping the solution secret). Then, when Bob comes up with the solution himself a few days later, Alice can prove that she had the solution earlier by revealing it and having Bob hash it and check that it matches the hash value given to him before.

So that’s basically the gist of it. Pretty cool, and that ain’t no shit.

March 18, 2013

Amazingly Prescient Seinfeld Kramer Heckling Remark

While watching a re-run of Seinfeld tonight, I noticed Jerry saying something that now takes on a whole new meaning in the 19 years since the episode’s airing.

While expressing regret about not talking back to a heckler, Jerry remarks:

“I should have let her have it. [But] I held back ’cause of Kramer.”

I iPhoned the clip – check it out: (Sorry for the crappy audio.)

You probably know what I’m talking about already. So while I won’t embed the video of Michael Richard’s infamous meltdown at a comedy club while confronting a heckler, I will embed his surreal apology on Letterman. Such an uncomfortable few minutes.

My favorite line from this clip:

“Don’t laugh. It’s not funny.”

March 14, 2013

Barry Lyndon’s Opening Scene and the Golden Ratio

I re-watched “Barry Lyndon” last weekend and was reminded of how perfectly Stanley Kubrick framed his shots.

The opening scene, below, is one of the most beautifully-framed shots I’ve ever seen in a film. The more you look at it, the more you say “Yes. Why yes, that’s nicely framed.” And the better it looks too.

Kubrick’s use of the Golden Ratio here is pretty astonishing. While a composition will usually look nice with one use of the ratio, here I’m counting between three and four examples of it.

This would be impressive enough in a painting, but the fact that Kubrick was able to achieve such beauty in a real environment is even more stunning. Pretty badass Stanley.

March 12, 2013

Condé Nast Entertainment’s Video Play

Some pretty exciting news from Condé Nast today. The new Entertainment group launched a platform for video delivery which they hope will showcase (and monetize) branded video content.

Today’s launch started with Glamour and GQ. Check out the sites – they’re really well executed with the latest in responsive design. My only quibble is that when you hover over a video (with the intention of hitting play/pause), the whole video and all its navigation buttons slide to the left and out from under your mouse. But that’s a small UX gripe with an overall brilliant execution.

They even let you embed the videos. Let’s give this Bill Murray one a shot.

Overall this is the “Netflix” approach of creating and distributing your own content and bypassing traditional channels. Will it work out and create a new revenue stream? Well if I knew for sure, I’d be with the executives on the 11th floor. So until then, I’ll just stick to making websites.

February 20, 2013

Jose Canseco Tweets Sound Like Will Ferrell as Harry Caray

I’m surprised nobody’s thought of this before, but Jose Canseco’s tweets sound like things Will Ferrell would say while doing a Harry Caray impression on SNL.

January 29, 2013

Photoshop Warning Dialogue With An Exclamation Point

I hadn’t seen this warning in years, but came across it today while choosing “Create Layer” on a layer’s blending effects.

Are there any other Photoshop dialogues that have exclamation points? None that I can think of.