Help MacZot Push Pzizz

May 24, 2006 Fans want Pzizz because 'According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation and its effect on work performance may be costing U.S. employers some $18 billion each year in lost productivity. Another study pushes this cost to over $100 billion.' – link to full article


BentProp Flashback

February 17, 2006

Following up on the long post from yesterday, this is a particularly poignant entry from last year’s expedition. Probably a good jumping-off point for exploring the rest of the site, and as dad says, “Here’s why we do this.”

BentProp Update: March 9, 2005


February 16, 2006

I’m obliged to plug BentProp, a group of folks who, as the site says, “search the waters and jungles of the western Pacific, in what we hope are intelligent ways, for clues that may lead to the location and identification of wreck sites and remains of men who gave their lives in defense of America.”

More specifically, it’s a loose affiliation of (relatively) normal folks, private citizens all, who spend about a month out of each year interviewing Palauan tribal elders and scuba diving and hacking through the jungles of Palau in search of lost WWII aircraft, a surprising number of which they have actually found—in which case they share information with the U.S.’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command, which does any actual remains retrieval and repatriation.

Aside from the interest to aviation, diving, or WWII buffs, it’s also important to note how important technology and the Internet have been to keeping this project alive. They rely a great deal on a larger network of supporters who help with ID’ing wreckage or putting the group in touch with relatives or acquaintances who have some private stash of relevant photos or stories… connections that would never be made so quickly without the web.

A group of BentProp-ers just arrived in Palau for the 2006 expedition, and they should be posting more or less daily updates (often with some great photography, both under- and above-water) about their progress. There’s also a complete archive of past expedition reports, some of them with fairly dramatic and moving stories about particular discoveries and the closure they’ve been able to bring to families of lost servicemen.

Full disclosure: my retired computer-geek father is the webmaster and one of the current expedition members. Check them out, and pass the information along to anyone (or anyone’s grandfather) who might have some useful bit of knowledge floating around. These guys certainly enjoy the adventure of it, but you don’t have to be a super-patriot to see that they’re also doing some really good work.

Pack It Up

February 16, 2006

37Signals’ slick little online organizer, Backpack, has already received tons of love from the web, but that won’t stop me from putting in my two cents. I tried it out a few months ago and just didn’t see a need for it… but now I realize that’s because I simply didn’t need it at the time.

But I’ve made a decision to change some things in my life, so I currently find myself searching for a new job, planning a cross-country move, and doing a lot of on-site freelance work in which I’m unable to use the hodge-podge of organizational tools installed on my own computer. So I need a way to jot down and organize a swarm of work and personal to-do lists, notes, contact information, and job leads so that I can access them wherever I end up on a given day.

Backpack isn’t for everyone, and there are some slightly annoying glitches (like the fact that you can’t title a single to-do list, you can’t move or copy items between pages, and there’s no calendar function), so folks who need more power will probably find a happier home with the company’s Basecamp. But I’ve found it to be great for keeping track of shopping lists, job-search notes, and ideas for my blog and other writing. There’s also an integrated collaborative, version-tracking writeboard feature — which I don’t use to collaborate, but which has been useful as a place to store various drafts of my resume or to work on longer-form pieces of writing. And you can set up one-time or recurring reminders to be sent via e-mail or SMS…what’s not to love?

A free account gives you five pages, two whiteboards, and a handful of reminders. Five bucks a month boosts it to 25 pages, 100 reminders, and 80MB of file and photo storage. Two more price points give you more of everything, plus encryption. Oh, yeah, and you get a unique e-mail address for each page, which opens up other interesting possibilities: I made up a public Backpack page here that summarizes some other tutorials on using Quicksilver with your Backpack account.

Quicksilver and Backpack

Get Organized and Collaborate

Mmm… delicious

January 19, 2006

Whoah. Giant jellyfish are wrecking Japan’s fishing industry. Yes, that’s a human floating next to the big, hairy poison-ball…


Wikipedia: Echizen kurage

Life is Sweet

January 17, 2006

These Miracle Fruit Tablets sound like a pretty funky idea: take one, and then every sour thing you eat for the next couple of hours will taste sweet. The really cool thing is that they’re derived from a fruit, not from some chemist’s test tube. So now one wonders when these things — or the fruit — will start popping up in dishes made by some of your more experimental chefs. I’m probably way behind the times and they already have. Ah, well.

It take a Flickr and keeps on Tickr?

January 16, 2006

Very cool, albeit only for very up-to-date Mac folks: Tickr does what I wanted Slide to do — pull lots of cool photos into a configurable little strip on my desktop, and allow me to dig up new content without searching through lots of lists of pre-defined slideshows. Mouse over the strip, type in a keyword, and Tickr pulls similarly-tagged public photos from Flickr. See one that catches your eye? Double-click to pull up the photo’s Flickr page, or right-click to get a bunch of other options (go to the photographer’s Flickr page, just pull up the photo in your browser, or even save it directly to your Photos folder). Nifty, slick, and not entirely useless: hooray!