Say hello to Ugly River

Browsing the NZ Gazette, the government’s official newspaper, I came across a parcel of new official geographic names being approved and one or two discontinued. This happens fairly often and this Land Information New Zealand page is a good place to get a heads-up.  There’s also plenty of detail  on the naming process, including a …

“If you can’t protect it, don’t collect it”

The  theft of the personal data of 4.5 million patients of a US hospital chain prompted Bloomberg to look at the Top 10 Data Breaches of all time. In their story, they wrote: “The recent attack has gained notoriety for its methods, rather than its size — the hacking group has been prolific in attacking …

Why you shouldn’t drink seawater (even if you’re shipwrecked)

    I feel like I’ve always ‘known’ that it’s bad to drink seawater but I can’t remember ever learning why. This excerpt from Rose George’s excellent ‘90% of Everything: Inside Shipping‘ gives a fair idea: In a lecture to the Royal College of Physicians in 1942, MacDonald Critchley, a physician who had studied survival …

What the sound of a dial-up modem looks like

This is a spectogram of a dial-up modem handshake sound.  Via FlowingData. When I plugged in my first modem for the first time I heard this sound sequence and thought something was broken. Took me a few goes to figure out it was supposed to sound like this. Finally got connected and discovered bulletin boards. …

Desktop vs mobile content visualised as cereal

I’m liking these simple (but clever) illustrations from visual and interaction designer Ed Lea. The first gives a visual explanation of how content differs on desktop, tablet and mobile.   The second illustrates the difference between UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface). Ed Lea is on Medium and on Twitter @ed_lea.  

On being careful with browser extensions

From a Mike O’Donnell column on stuff.co.nz, some sage advice on being careful with browser add-ons and extensions: 1. If you start seeing weird or inappropriate ads on websites there’s a fair chance you’ve been targeted. You should go to your “options” menu in Internet Explorer (or “extensions” in Chrome) and disable recent extensions.   2. …

How to draw on a blackboard: beautiful tips from 1909

A lovely book “by Massachusetts based artist and teacher Frederik Whitney (1858-1949) on the lost art of blackboard drawing”. “Ability to draw easily and well on the blackboard is a power which every teacher of children covets. Such drawing is a language which never fails to hold attention and awaken delighted interest”. Via Public Domain Review . …

Top-watched online videos in 2013: comedy, educational, and how-tos

One in four US adult internet users has uploaded a video online, according to the Online Video 2013 report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. One in five has posted a video that they created themselves. The top-watched categories are Comedy, Educational and How-to videos, followed by Music. Forty one per cent of …