Making molecular machines work

October 09, 2006
Making molecular machines work. "In this review we chart recent advances in what is at once an old and very new field of endeavour -- the achievement of control of motion at the molecular level including solid-state and surface-mounted rotors, and its natural progression to the development of synthetic molecular machines." An excellent article.

MOO MiniCards

October 08, 2006

I received my free1 MOO MiniCards yesterday morning and could not have been more pleasantly surprised at how good they looked (see the MOO MiniCard pool for examples). I must admit, I wasn't expecting too much because (1) I knew they were going to be tiny and (2) they were free, but I figured I'd give them a shot because, well, they were free.

For brevity's sake I'm going to bite Cory Doctorow's Boing Boing post and say that it's "hard to convey just how cool-ass these cards are. They feel like a fetish object, the thick card and soft laminate finish create a great hand-feel, and they're visually stunning — playful and intensely personal."

I can totally see myself using these when I eventually start selling prints of my stuff.

  1. A few weeks ago MOO launched a promo for these MiniCards where they gave away 10 cards to 10,000 Flickr Pro users. These were completely free (including shipping) and so even though I don't really use Flickr anymore, I couldn't resist the offer.  :P   

Aperture, MediaPro, and XMP

October 08, 2006

Anyone out there running both MediaPro and Aperture want to do me a quick favor? It shouldn't take but a second and I'd be most grateful.

All I'd like you to do is go into MediaPro, highlight a picture that you've assigned to multiple keywords, and choose "Action | Extract Metadata…" from the menu at the top. Make sure "Editable Annotations" is checked and then save the resulting XMP file in the directory where the image resides.

Finally, try to import the XMP and/or image file into Aperture, either by dragging/dropping or through any import mechanisms it may have. I'd like to know whether Aperture retains the keyword (and other) metadata. Thanks in advance.

When is a space mission too expensive to fly?

October 02, 2006
When is a space mission too expensive to fly? "It's a question much in the mind of proponents of robotic exploration, who can point to lower cost as one excellent reason to leave human crews out of our deep space missions. But robotic missions can suffer the same fate as human ones, with technology advances like miniaturization exploited not to pack more instruments on board but to reduce costs."

Crazyegg == crazy expensive

September 30, 2006

Update: The nice folks at Crazyegg contacted me a few hours after I posted this, and though many different things were discussed and an informative dialogue was begun, I'm writing this update only to point out that they offer a free 5000-clicks/month plan, something I should have noted in the original piece.

Unless I'm missing something, the Crazyegg stats-tracking service seems to be way overpriced, especially in light of the free (or pay-once) offerings out there.

I mention this only because the blogosphere can't seem to contain its enthusiam about it (indeed, I borrowed this title from 37signals' recent post, Crazyegg = crazy good), but no one ever mentions the price, and, well, the prices are ridiculous.

As far as I can tell, the service offers three basic things, which are all just different presentations of the same click data: Overlay, List, and Heatmap. The "heatmap" feature is what has really set the blogosphere on fire, but is this one simple view worth $20-$100 a month? Does it really add anything to the "overlay" view, which is already available for free through Google Analytics? Does it look cool? Of course, and I'd love to use it myself, but I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $50/mo (more than twice my actual webhosting costs) to get a pretty picture, whose ultimate significance can be derived for free from other services. Let me reiterate: save the pretty picture, this service offers nothing new. Moreover, with a little work, you can actually create a very similar picture for free, and I don't think it's going to be too long before someone creates a Pepper for Mint to accomplish the same.

If I'm wrong about this and/or have missed something, please correct me. I understand they are offering something somewhat innovative and their no-setup, everything-is-done-on-our-end approach will appeal to some people, but a high monthly cost for something that does so very little just doesn't sit too well with me and I'm curious to know why no one else has taken issue with this aspect of the service.

It's time to do that whole "adult" thing

September 24, 2006

Last week marked my first as an associate at Kenyon & Kenyon, the IP firm I worked for last summer and through part of my final year of law school. The two previous months -- those spent doing basically whatever I wanted -- have been great and have really allowed me to relax (to the extent I'm capable of doing such a thing), and though the thought of the bar was never completely erased from my mind, I was able to keep it at bay in the extreme recesses of my consciousness most of the time.

I've a feeling things at the firm are going to pick up rather quickly for me and so the bandwidth I usually allot to this site and other semi-related projects may be throttled somewhat. I'll find a way to balance it all, I always do, but there's no question that some non-work things are going to get pushed back. I have to find a way to convince myself that some things can wait, that the world isn't going to end if I don't do this or that immediately. Wish me luck.

In other news, I'm actually working on an "about" page for this site. I know, I know, I've existed here at this address in some form or another for seven years and should have made a who-the-hell-are-you page a long time ago (especially given my fastidiousness with regard to every other aspect of the site), but, for myriad reasons, I was never too keen on trying to sum up me or my life in two or three paragraphs. In any event, I feel the time has finally come that I put together such a page, one that hopefully complements the tour and works to shed some much needed light on yours truly.

OCD, the key to defeating terrorism?

September 23, 2006

One of my best friends is finally considering consolidating, organizing, labeling, and otherwise obsessing over his photography collection, which now spans 22GB, and this was at the bottom of a rather long e-mail he sent me yesterday regarding the same:

I figure if anybody knows the best way to approach this, it's you. You seem to understand how to create these personal data management systems better than anybody I've ever seen. This might be a fun write up for your website too: a friend with serious data management issues applies your personal systems to his own life, becomes safe and happy, and the terrorists lose.

Just doing my part.