Shared posts

11 Jun 00:00

Sunless Earth

Sunless Earth

What would happen to the Earth if the Sun suddenly switched off?

—Many, many readers

This is probably the single most popular question submitted to What If.

Part of why I haven’t answered it is that it's been answered already. A Google search for what if the Sun went out turns up a lot of excellent articles thoroughly analyzing the situation.

However, since my recent articles on sunsets, the rate of submission of this question has risen even further, so I’ve decided to do my best to answer it.

If the Sun went out ...

We won’t worry about exactly how it happens. We'll just assume we figured out a way to fast-forward the Sun through its evolution so that it becomes a cold, inert sphere. What would the consequences be for us here on Earth?

Let's look at a few:

Reduced risk of solar flares: In 1859, a massive solar flare and geomagnetic storm hit the Earth.[1] Magnetic storms induce electric currents in wires. Unfortunately for us, by 1859 we had wrapped the Earth in telegraph wires. The storm caused powerful currents in those wires, knocking out communications and in some cases causing telegraph equipment to catch fire.[2]

Since 1859, we've wrapped the Earth in a lot more wires. If the 1859 storm hit us today, the Department of Homeland Security estimates the economic damage to the US alone would be several trillion dollars[3]—more than every hurricane which has ever hit the US combined.[4] If the Sun went out, this threat would be eliminated.

Improved satellite service: When a communications satellite passes in front of the Sun, the Sun can drown out the satellite's radio signal, causing an interruption in service.[5] Deactivating the Sun would solve this problem.

Better astronomy: Without the Sun, ground-based observatories would be able to operate around the clock. The cooler air would create less atmospheric noise, which would reduce the load on adaptive optics systems and allow for sharper images.

Stable dust: Without sunlight, there would be no Poynting–Robertson drag, which means we would finally be able to place dust into a stable orbit around the Sun without the orbits decaying. I’m not sure whether anyone wants to do that, but you never know.

Reduced infrastructure costs: The Department of Transportation estimates that it would cost $20 billion per year over the next 20 years to repair and maintain all US bridges.[6] Most US bridges are over water; without the Sun, we could save money by simply driving on a strip of asphalt laid across the ice.

Cheaper trade: Time zones make trade more expensive; it's harder to do business with someone if their office hours don't overlap with yours.[7] If the Sun went out, it would eliminate the need for time zones, allowing us to switch to UTC and give a boost to the global economy.

Safer Children: According to the North Dakota Department of Health, babies younger than six months should be kept out of direct sunlight.[8] Without sunlight, our children would be safer.

Safer combat pilots: Many people sneeze when exposed to bright sunlight. The reasons for this reflex are unknown, and it may pose a danger to fighter pilots during flight.[9] If the Sun went dark, it would mitigate this danger to our pilots.

Safer parsnip: Wild parsnip is a surprisingly nasty plant. Its leaves contain chemicals called furocoumarins, which can be absorbed by human skin without causing symptoms ... at first. However, when the skin is then exposed to sunlight (even days or weeks later), the furocoumarins cause a nasty chemical burn. This is called phytophotodermatitis.[10] A darkened Sun would liberate us from the parsnip threat.

In conclusion, if the Sun went out, we would see a variety of benefits across many areas of our lives.

Are there any downsides to this scenario?

We would all freeze and die.

30 May 12:18

Ubuntu Bug #1 Marked As Fixed By Mark Shuttleworth

by (Andrew)
Ubuntu bug 1

After almost 9 years and 1833 comments, the famous Ubuntu bug #1, "Microsoft has a majority market share", has been marked as fixed today by Mark Shuttleworth.

Ubuntu bug #1 states that "Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace" but since it was reported, phones and tablets have become a lot more important and while Microsoft may still be winning on the desktop, in the consumer compute market it's now 3rd, behind Android and Apple.

Mark Shuttleworth notes in the comment that marks the bug as "fix released":

"[...] Android may not be my or your first choice of Linux, but it is without doubt an open source platform that offers both practical and economic benefits to users and industry. So we have both competition, and good representation for open source, in personal computing.

Even though we have only played a small part in that shift, I think it's important for us to recognize that the shift has taken place. So from Ubuntu's perspective, this bug is now closed.

[...] Along those lines, it's good to reflect on how much has changed since 2004, and how fast it's changed. For Ubuntu, our goal remains to deliver fantastic experiences: for developers, for people building out production infrastructure, and for end-users on a range of devices. We are doing all of that in an environment that changes completely every decade. So we have to be willing to make big changes ourselves - in our processes, our practices, our tools, and our relationships. Change this bug status is but a tiny example."

The full comment can be found HERE.

What do you think?
17 May 07:10

Super Smooth CSS Transitions for jQuery

by Ray Cheung

Advertise here via BSA

Transit is a super-smooth CSS transitions & transformations for jQuery. You can make transition on any CSS property. They will happen much smoother than if you were to use jQuery’s default .animate(). You can easily translate, rotate, scale, skew and etc.

Transit degrades older browsers by simply not doing the transformations (rotate, scale, etc) while still doing standard CSS (opacity, marginLeft, etc) without any animation. Delays and durations will be ignored. It is released under MIT License.


Requirements: jQuery Framework
License: MIT License


Professional Web Icons for Your Websites and Applications

15 May 21:01

Android Studio: An IDE built for Android

by Android Developers
Posted by Xavier Ducrohet, Tor Norbye, Katherine Chou

Today at Google I/O we announced a new IDE that’s built with the needs of Android developers in mind. It’s called Android Studio, it’s free, and it’s available now for you to try as an early access preview.

To develop Android Studio, we cooperated with JetBrains, creators of one of the most advanced Java IDEs available today. Based on the powerful, extensible IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition, we've added features that are designed specifically for Android development, that simplify and optimize your daily workflow.

Extensible build tools

We know you need a build system that adapts to your project requirements but extends further to your larger development environment. Android Studio uses a new build system based on Gradle that provides flexibility, customized build flavors, dependency resolution, and much more.

This new build system allows you to build your projects in the IDE as well as on your continuous integrations servers. The combination lets you easily manage complex build configurations natively, throughout your workflow, across all of your tools. Check out the preview documentation to get a better idea of what the new build system can do.

Powerful code editing

Android Studio includes a powerful code editor. It's based on the IntelliJ IDEA editor, which supports features such as smart editing, advanced code refactoring, and deep static code analysis.

Smart editing features such as inline resource lookups make it easier to read your code, while giving you instant access to edit code the backing resources. Advanced code refactoring gives you the power to transform your code across the scope of the entire project, quickly and safely.

We added static code analysis for Android development, helping you identify bugs more quickly. On top of the hundreds of code inspections that IntelliJ IDEA provides, we’ve added custom inspections. For example, we’ve added metadata to the Android APIs, that flag which methods can return null and which can’t, which constants are allowed for which methods, and so on. Android Studio uses that data to analyze your code and find potential errors.

Smoother and richer GUI

Over the past year we’ve added some great drag-and-drop UI features to ADT and we’re in the process of adding them all into Android Studio. This release of Android Studio lets you preview your layouts on different device form factors, locales, and platform versions.

Easy access to Google services
within Android Tools

We wanted to make it easy for you to harness the power Google services right from your IDE. To start, we’ve made it trivial to add services such a cloud-based backend with integrated Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) to your app, directly from the IDE.

We’ve also added a new plugin called ADT Translation Manager Plugin to assist with localizing your apps. You can use the plugin to export your strings to the Google Play Developer Console for translation, then download and import your translations back into your project.

Open source development

Starting next week we’ll be doing all of our development in the open, so you can follow along or make your own contributions. You can find the Android Studio project in AOSP at

Try Android Studio and give us feedback

Give Android Studio a try and send us your feedback! It's free, and the download bundle includes includes everything you need, including the IDE, the latest SDK tools, the latest Android platform, and more. .

Note: This is an early access preview intended for early adopters and testers who want to influence the direction of the Android tools. If you have a production app with a large installed base, there’s no need to migrate your development to the new tools at this time. We will continue to support Eclipse as a primary platform for development.

If you have feedback on the tools, you can send it to us using the Android Studio issue tracker.

15 May 15:00

Plan Your Free Online Education at Lifehacker U: Summer Semester 2013

by Alan Henry

Your education doesn't have to stop once you leave school—freedom from the classroom just means you have more control over what you learn and when you learn it. We've put together a curriculum of some of the best free online classes available on the web this fall for our third term of Lifehacker U, our regularly-updating guide to improving your life with free, online college-level classes. Let's get started.



14 May 00:00

ISS Music Video

ISS Music Video

Is this the most expensive music video ever?

—Various Youtube commenters

For starters, a big welcome home to Chris Hadfield, who returned to Earth last night after a memorable stint as commander of the International Space Station.

Commander Hadfield’s video performance of Space Oddity was an instant hit, and prompted many commenters to ask whether it should count as the most expensive music video ever made.

At a total lifetime cost in the neighborhood of \$150 billion [1], the International Space Station is one of the world’s most expensive megaprojects. (The exact cost is hard to pin down, since the countries contributing don’t all handle their finances the same way.)

By comparison, the most expensive music videos have production budgets in the range of a few million dollars. If Commander Hadfield’s video gets the ISS’s entire \$150 billion price tag, then it must be tens of thousands of times more expensive than the runner-up, right?

Not so fast.

The ISS is expensive, but there have been music videos set against an even more expensive backdrop.

At a cost of roughly \$400 billion, the US Eisenhower Interstate Highway System is probably the most expensive peacetime public works project in the history of mankind. If we’re including the entire ISS in the cost of Commander Hadfield’s video, any video shot on the American highway system should get the cost of the highway system added to its total.

By that measure, the commander’s video would lose to U2’s Last Night on Earth, which was filmed on a section of I-670 in Missouri,[2] and therefore cost more than the ISS and the Moon landing program combined.

In both cases, the comparison doesn’t really make sense; both the ISS and the US highway system are used for things other than making music videos.[citation needed] Instead, let’s look at some other ways we could calculate the cost of Hadfield’s video.

If you spread out the ISS’s price tag across all the astronaut-hours spent on board, you come up with about \$7.5 million per person per day, or roughly \$90 per second.[3] That sounds like a lot, but at that rate, the five-and-a-half-minute video only runs about \$30,000. Given that the video has probably done more for space industry than millions in public outreach, that’s a good deal.

Hadfield’s son confirmed that Hadfield shot the video himself with no help from other astronauts, so even if we assume he spent several hours setting it up and recording it, we don’t come close to the \$7 million cost of the video Michael and Janet Jackson made for Scream.

And the truth is, this isn’t a very good way to calculate costs either. Presumably, Commander Hadfield isn’t busy commanding things 24/7. He has some free time, and it’s no skin off anyone’s back how he spends it (assuming his hobby isn’t drilling holes in walls). It’s hard to argue that shooting the video cost anyone \$90/second when he was going to be up there floating around anyway.

Alternately, we could look at how much Commander Hadfield was paid to make the video. As a Canadian astronaut, his salary is somewhere between \$145,200 and \$171,000 CAD.[4] Astronaut work hours are a little atypical, but if we assume that in the long run he’s on the job 40 hours a week, that works out to \$85/hour. By that measure, the cost of the video was \$7.84. Not 7.84 million; 7 dollars and 84 cents (\$7.76 US).

And then there’s the guitar.

While it’s hard to argue that the entire cost of the ISS counts toward the video, we could at least include the cost to launch the guitar. The Larrivée Parlor acoustic guitar in the video went up years ago on the Space Shuttle, and astronauts have been playing it ever since.[5] Given that launch costs at the time were between \$20,000 and \$30,000 per pound, the cost to send up the guitar was probably in the neighborhood of \$75,000.

While that’s far from the most anyone’s paid for a guitar,[6] it’s certainly a lot of money. And if playing music helps the astronauts relax and keep from going crazy while they’re crammed together in a tin can for months at a time, it’s probably a worthwhile investment.

Of course, this plan could backfire.

07 May 00:00

High Throw

High Throw

How high can a human throw something?

—Irish Dave on the Isle of Man

Humans are good at throwing things. In fact, we’re great at it; no other animal can throw stuff like we can.

It's true that chimpanzees hurl feces (and, on rare occasions, stones), but they’re not nearly as accurate or precise as humans.[1][2]Antlions throw sand, but they don’t aim it. Archerfish hunt insects by throwing water droplets, but they use specialized mouths instead of arms. Horned lizards shoot jets of blood from their eyes for distances of up to five feet. I don’t know why they do this because whenever I reach the phrase “shoot jets of blood from their eyes” in an article I just stop there and stare at it until I need to lie down.

So while there are other animals that use projectiles, we’re just about the only animal that can grab a random object and reliably nail a target. In fact, we’re so good at it that some researchers have suggested rock-throwing played a central role in the evolution of the modern human brain.[3][4]

Throwing is hard. In order to deliver a baseball to a batter, a pitcher has to release the ball at exactly the right point in the throw. A timing error of half a millisecond in either direction is enough to cause the ball to miss the strike zone.[5]

To put that in perspective, it takes about five milliseconds for the fastest nerve impulse to travel the length of the arm.[6] That means that when your arm is still rotating toward the correct position, the signal to release the ball is already at your wrist. In terms of timing, this is like a drummer dropping a drumstick from the 10th story and hitting a drum on the ground on the correct beat.

We seem to be much better at throwing things forward than throwing them upward. Since we’re going for maximum height, we could use projectiles that curve upward when you throw them forward; the Aerobie Orbiters I had when I was a kid often got stuck in the highest treetops. But we could also sidestep the whole problem by using a device like this one:

It could be a springboard, a greased chute, or even a dangling sling—anything that redirects the object upward without adding to—or subtracting from—its speed. Of course, we could also try this:

But the deflector box seems easier.

I ran through the basic aerodynamic calculations for a baseball thrown at various speeds. I will give these in units of giraffes:

The average person can probably throw a baseball at least three giraffes high:

Someone with a reasonably good arm could manage five:

A pitcher with an 80 mph fastball could manage ten giraffes:

Aroldis Chapman, the holder of the world record for fastest recorded pitch (105 mph), could in theory launch a baseball 14 giraffes high:

But what about projectiles other than a baseball? Obviously, with the aid of tools like slings, crossbows, or the curved xistera scoops in jai alai, we can launch projectiles much faster than that. But for this question, let’s assume we stick to bare-handed throwing.

A baseball is probably not the ideal projectile, but it’s hard to find speed data on other kinds of thrown objects. Fortunately, a British javelin thrower named Roald Bradstock held a random object throwing competition, in which he threw everything from dead fish to an actual kitchen sink. Bradstock’s experience gives us a lot of useful data (and a lot of other data, too). In particular, it suggests a potentially superior projectile: A golf ball.

Few professional athletes have been recorded throwing golf balls. Fortunately, Bradstock has, and he claims a record throw (to first contact with the ground) of 170 yards.[7] This involved a running start, but even so, it’s reason to think that a golf ball might work better than a baseball. It makes sense; the limiting factor in baseball pitches is the torque on the elbow, and the lighter golf ball might allow the pitching arm to move slightly faster.

The speed improvement from using a golf ball instead of a baseball would probably not be very large, but it seems plausible that a professional pitcher with some time to practice could throw a golf ball faster than a baseball.

If so, based on aerodynamic calculations, Aroldis Chapman could probably throw a golf ball about sixteen giraffes high:

This is probably about the maximum possible altitude for a thrown object.

… unless you count the technique by which any five-year-old can beat all these records easily:

02 May 19:20


by Alexandre Matias


03 May 00:00


It ships with a version of Google Now that alerts you when it's too late to leave for your appointments.
30 Apr 09:00

Waiting for Pull Request approval

by sharhalakis

by aefimov

30 Apr 00:00

Train Loop

Train Loop

Could a high-speed train run through a vertical loop, like a rollercoaster, with the passengers staying comfortable?

—Gero Walter


Since this is kind of a disappointing answer, I tried relaxing the requirements a little.

Could a high-speed train run through a vertical loop, like a rollercoaster, with the passengers staying comfortable surviving?

Still no.

Could a modified and reinforced high-speed train with a jet engine on top run through a vertical loop, like a rollercoaster, with the passengers staying comfortable surviving?


The Norwegian aluminium and energy company Norsk Hydro ran a pro-education ad in which a bunch of kids build a giant roller-coaster loop on a train track as a prank. This is, of course, unrealistic, but not just for the obvious reasons. There are some problems with the whole idea of sending high-speed trains through loops.

The first issue is geometry. The biggest vertical loop which a train could conceivably go around has a radius of about 200 meters. If it’s any bigger than that, even the fastest trains will fail to complete the loop.

Unfortunately, a 200 meter loop is much too tight. Most high-speed trains are limited to vertical curves with radii no shorter than 20 kilometers.

The reason for those limits isn't that trains aren't bendy enough. It's how fast they're going.

The spec sheet for the Bombardier ZEFIRO, for example, says it can handle a pretty tight vertical curve radius—just 900 meters. At the train’s top speed, that curve would create about two gees of acceleration. This might be survivable (for the passengers, at least, if not the train), but it would certainly not be comfortable.

Yet a 900 meter radius loop is still too big. Even with the engine at full power, the train wouldn’t even be able to get a quarter of the way around the loop before sliding back down.

The CGI train in the Norwegian video is an Di 4, which is shown moving about twice as fast as it can actually go. Based on its speed and number of cars, the loop appears to have a radius of about 70 meters, which is part of why it’s shown going so fast—the actual Di 4 would be just a little too slow, and would fall off the track at the top. The digital one, however, makes it around the loop in about five seconds, no problem.

But the tight loop means the passengers and train are experiencing between 9 and 15 gees. This is at the limit of what fighter pilots can handle in pressure suits. In addition to killing everyone on board, it would certainly destroy the train, to say nothing of the track. 70 meters is much too tight.

Clearly, we need a larger loop. 900 meters would be great, but our trains aren’t fast enough for that.

But maybe we could make the train go faster ...


Believe it or not, this has been tried before—a number of countries have built jet-engine-powered trains. Sadly, they never took off. Fortunately, they never took off.

A 747 engine mounted atop a bullet train would probably add about 35% to its speed. Is that enough to do a 900-meter loop?


Ok, putting the jet engine on top didn’t work. Maybe we should try something different.

... why did we think that would work? Forget that idea.

Clearly, we need some combination of a fast train and a medium-sized loop. The sweet spot for loop size and shape is probably something like this:

Of course, given the height, we’d probably have to build it into a small mountain:

The shape of the loop, which is common in roller coasters, would spread out the g-forces more evenly, resulting in a max of only a few gees—totally survivable!

Of course, the construction costs would be astronomical, and it goes without saying that no group of kids could pull it off alone without the resources of a major government.

To any Norwegian kids reading this who were hoping to build a train loop, don't despair—there may still be a way to make this happen.

The US Vice President, Joe Biden, served in the US Senate for 36 years. In all that time, he never moved to Washington, DC. Instead, every night, he took the train home to Delaware to see his family. This is very touching, but after the first few years, I'm sure the commute got a little dull.

So, if you’re looking for a high-level backer to help you make someone’s train ride a little more exciting, you might just try talking to Joe.

30 Apr 10:29

Install Pepper Flash Player For Chromium In Ubuntu Via PPA

by (Andrew)
As you probably know, the latest Adobe Flash Player versions are available on Linux only through Google Chrome, while other browsers are stuck with version 11.2. If you want to use Chromium browser instead of Google Chrome, here's an easy way to install Pepper Flash Player.

The latest Adobe Flash Player that's bundled with Google Chrome doesn't work with browsers like Firefox for instance, because it requires an API called "Pepper" that's only available in Google Chrome and Chromium. A while back we wrote about using Pepper Flash from Google Chrome in Chromium browser by installing Google Chrome and manually adding the Pepper Flash plugin but here's an easier way to do it under Ubuntu: by using a PPA.

Pepper Flash Chromium Browser

In case you're wondering what are the differences between Google Chrome and Chromium (besides the logo), here are a few:
  • Google Chrome is not open source (and thus not available in the official distribution repositories) while Chromium is;
  • Google Chrome is tested by the Chrome developers while Chromium may be modified by distributions; for instance, Chromium in Ubuntu is modified to support the WebApps feature while Google Chrome, being closed source, doesn't come with these modifications and thus doesn't support WebApps;
  • Google Chrome comes with optional user metrics;
  • Google Chrome comes with proprietary plugins such as a PDF viewer and Adobe Flash Player (Pepper).

Install Pepper Flash for Chromium in Ubuntu

The Pepper Flash Installer available in the PPA automatically downloads Google Chrome (stable), extracts the Pepper Flash files and installs only those files. Google Chrome itself won't be installed.

The package is just an installer and doesn't contain any Google Chrome / Adobe Flash files, like the official flashplugin-installer or out oracle-java-installer.

To add the PPA and install Adobe Pepper Flash from Google Chrome in Ubuntu (to be used in Chromium), use the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:skunk/pepper-flash
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install pepflashplugin-installer

Once installed, there's one more step to get Chromium to use the Google Chrome Pepper Flash Player: you need to open /etc/chromium-browser/default as root with a text editor (e.g.: gedit - which I'll use in the command below):
sudo apt-get install gksu #it`s not installed by default in Ubuntu 13.04
gksu gksu gedit /etc/chromium-browser/default
("gksu" is used twice to avoid a bug with Gedit opening a blank file next to our file)

and in that file, paste the followng line at the bottom of the file (after the CHROMIUM_FLAGS="" line):
. /usr/lib/pepflashplugin-installer/
(yes, there's a dot in the beginning of the line, then a space!)

Pepper Flash Chromium Browser

That's it. Now restart Chromium browser, visit chrome://plugins and check the Adobe Flash Player version (it's possible you have two, there's no need to disable the old one because Pepper Flash will be used by default since it's newer) - it shouldn't be 11.2.x but a newer version (e.g.: 11.7.700.x at the time I'm writing this article).

Arch Linux users can install Pepper Flash for Chromium basically in the same way, by using THIS AUR package.

If you don't want to use a PPA for this, see: Use Pepper Flash Player From Google Chrome In Chromium Browser.

24 Apr 16:05

Incontro del 29 aprile 2013: Grafica 3D nei browser: Programmare WebGL usando Three.js

by Dario Ghilardi

Javascript è senza dubbio il linguaggio con più hype negli ultimi mesi. Trainato dalla moda di NodeJS e dal conseguente mito della scalabilità gli sviluppatori si sono sbizzarriti nel creare librerie per gli usi più svariati.
Nel prossimo incontro di Codelovers Carlo Milanesi ci parlerà di una libreria che promette gradi cose per estendere i casi d’uso all’interno del nostro ormai super powerful browser: Three.js.

Un’occasione così non vi capita di nuovo, lunedi 29 aprile non c’è impegno che tenga.

Di seguito un piccolo abstract del talk:

Dal 2011 è possibile fare della grafica 3D ad alte prestazioni nei browser Web, usando la nuova API WebGL, che interfaccia Javascript ai driver OpenGL e quindi alla GPU.
Sono state create alcune librerie Javascript, la più famosa delle quali è Three.js, per facilitare tale tipo di programmazione.
Verranno presentati esempi di effetti grafici appariscenti ottenibili con tale libreria, e verrà descritto il codice di un programmino minimale di grafica 3D.

Luogo: Dalmine, presso Talent Garden Bergamo.
Data e ora: Lunedì 29 aprile ore 21:00.
Talk: “Grafica 3D nei browser: Programmare WebGL usando Three.jsdi Carlo Milanesi

A lunedì, vi aspettiamo numerosi.

21 Apr 21:30

Suggested Bias

Suggested Bias

People have been talking about switching to Linux to escape Windows 8, guess Microsoft has been trying to change their minds.

Submitted by: lightninggirl99

Tagged: bing , google Share on Facebook
20 Apr 18:00

Rainbow Illusion Will Illuminate Your Day

20 Apr 11:03

Adapteva shows off production Parallella mini 'supercomputer' boards

by Joe Pollicino

Adapteva shows of its first production Parallella mini supercomputer boards

With its ambitious Parallella computing project funded on Kickstarter since last October, Adapteva's now showing off its first mass-production boards. These Raspberry Pi-esque devices are capable of supercomputer-like parallel computing performance thanks to power-sipping Epiphany multi-core accelerators. As proposed, both the $99 13GHz 16-core (26 gigaflops) and $199 45GHz 64-core accelerator (90 gigaflops) variants make an appearance in the pictures. The company is tweaking this initial batch of 10 to test various functionalities, with its current update noting that getting Linux to boot off the boards is the next step in testing. Final units are still slated to arrive on doorsteps during the summer, and hardware schematics will eventually be available as open source-info -- after all, the Parallella has always been pitched as an open undertaking. Those enthused by circuits and the boards they live on will find a path to more info at the source link.


Via: Tech2

Source: Adapteva (Kickstarter),

20 Apr 15:00

Top 10 Awesome MacGyver Tricks That Speak For Themselves

by Whitson Gordon

Some life hacks require a complete how-to guide just to understand. Others are so genius in their simplicity that they speak for themselves. Here are ten of our favorite self-explanatory MacGyver tricks.

10. Make Perfect Pancakes with a Squeeze Bottle

It doesn't have to be a ketchup bottle, any kind of squeeze bottle will work—including the kind you buy empty from the store.

9. Use a Post-It Note to Avoid a Drilling Mess

8. Seal Plastic Bags with Old Bottle Caps

7. Remove a Stripped Screw with a Rubber Band

Then fix the hole with toothpicks.

6. Organize Anything with an Over-the-Door Shoe Holder

This works with anything from pantry items to cleaning products to gadgets, game controllers, and even cables.

5. Create an Instant Snack Bowl from Any Snack Bag

Then eat the snacks with chopsticks to avoid getting the mess on your fingers, too.

4. Create Extra Shelf Space with a Tension Rod

Tension rods are great for oh-so-many things.

3. Organize Cables with Toilet Paper Tubes

It ain't pretty, but what cable organization system is?

2. Use Soda Can Tabs to Save Closet Space

You can use them to hang pictures, too.

1. Use Binder Clips as Cable Catchers

Really, binder clips are just a MacGyver hacker's dream.

We know there are a ton of others out there, so if you've got your own favorites, share them below!

12 Apr 10:46


19 Apr 11:00

The Best Streaming Music Services You Aren't Using (But Should)

by Alan Henry

Streaming music apps and discovery services are a dime a dozen, but even the best ones have a hard time competing with the names everyone already knows. Even so, getting out of your comfort zone a little bit and trying a new service will only reward you with tons of great new music. Here are a few services we love that we think you'll love too.

Why Shouldn't I Just Use [Insert Service I Already Use]?

Pandora, Spotify, Songza, Rdio, Grooveshark, and all the rest are great, we're not trying to convince you otherwise. However, trying something new doesn't cost you anything and doesn't have to replace the app you already love. Seriously, the streaming music app you use doesn't have to define you, and shouldn't turn into some kind of music lover's version of the OS wars. Trying more than one will only reward you with new and interesting music you may not have heard.

Case in point, I love Pandora and happily pay for Pandora One. I keep a pretty big Grooveshark library too. I have the mobile apps for both, and stream Pandora in my car when I want to listen to music almost exclusively. That hasn't stopped me from falling in love with some of the services we're about to discuss.

This Is My Jam

We've mentioned This Is My Jam before in glowing terms, and it's still a great service. Here's how it works: Pick a song you love (or love right now) and make it your "jam." Other users will find it, listen to it, and "like" it. You can do the same—TIMJ makes it easy to explore jams by other users, and will suggest users to you who have similar jams to yours. It'll even lead you to other songs by similar artists to the ones you've already shared. Your tracks expire after seven days (but you can renew them if it's still your jam), or you can change them whenever you like. Best of all, since people are adding new tracks all the time, there's always something new to listen to.

From there, you can follow people who post music you enjoy, play all the jams from people you follow in one playlist, export all of your jams (or all of the jams from people you're following) as a Spotify playlist, or just use the This Is My Jam Spotify app to explore even more music. TIMJ is great if you're wary of trying a new service, or would prefer to just explore a few new tracks from some interesting people every now and again. It's totally free, and there are some great people sharing great music there. I use it regularly, and if you do too, leave me a link to your profile in the discussions and I'll give you a follow!

Noon Pacific

Every Monday at noon, Pacific time, I get an email in my inbox with a brand new playlist full of music. I've likely never heard any of it before but know I'll love all of it. That's Noon Pacific, and I can't say enough good things about it. It's probably the best, least-effort music discovery service ever, mostly because you sign up, and wait for the music to come to you every week.

We've discussed Noon Pacific before, but there's something great about knowing every Monday you're going to get a good hour of great new music hand picked, curated, and delivered right to you. The playlists are hosted at 8Tracks, and if you want to try some of the mixes before you sign up for the weekly newsletter, they're all posted on their site—which helps if you had a favorite mix from a few weeks ago and want to hear it again and again. (022, anyone?)


Piki may be iOS and Web only right now, but the fact that it was built by the team behind should say something. I've been using Piki since it came out, almost every day, and every day I find more reasons to love it. Think of it as on autopilot, with all of the people you follow (along with some recommended people based on the songs you like) as a rotating cast of DJs. Bonus: I have yet to hear a duplicate track using Piki, or a track that I didn't straight up love.

Getting started is easy: you add some artists and songs to your profile that you already like, and Piki plays music from those artists, and from other users that have already added or picked songs like yours. The more you hear, the more you "repick" from other users, which results in more songs for you to listen to. Follow users who appear in your stream regularly (you can preview the kinds of music you'll hear after following them first) and you'll get even more new music in your feed. Piki even syncs your playback position, so you can press pause, move to a different computer, and pick right up where you left off, both in your stream and even in the middle of a song.

The downside is that right now they're iOS only. I had to sign up on my iPad since I have an Android phone, but once you're signed up you can use their web player (scroll to the bottom of the page at and click "Beta Login." They say they're fully launching their web player soon, and an Android app is on the way right after that). If you're a user, leave a link to your profile below or give me a follow. I'm always looking for new tunes.


Whyd is another service we love because it fills two roles: it helps you organize all of the music you stumble on from around the web and keep it organized, and then it lets you build playlists and listen to that music anytime you want. It helps that Whyd is a social service, and there are plenty of other people there to listen to who have music just as good as the music you've added yourself.

If you wanted to use Whyd as just a way to organize YouTube videos, Vimeo videos, and SoundCloud tracks, that would be enough, but once you start exploring the music others are adding, it's a whole new world. Whyd is invite only, but this Lifehacker link, courtesy of the team behind Whyd, will get you behind the curtain. If you like what you see but want an alternative, SongDrop is a similar service we've mentioned.

The venerable may not totally be under the radar, but it's surprising how many people aren't familiar with it. is a webapp that's packed with music in all genres and styles, all a quick search away. The service also hooks into a number of music blogs, music stores, and streaming services to offer tons of free, streaming tunes to any web browser, completely free.

If you're not into searching for what you want to hear before you hear it, you can always follow other users and music blogs that post to regularly, look for your Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr friends who already use the service and follow them, or just fire off a pre-made playlist of trending or new music in a genre you love. Guaranteed you'll hear a ton of new tunes, and when you do, you can add them to your profile so you can come back and hear them anytime you want. If you love exploring music blogs, just click the "Sites" tab on the left to see all of the participating ones, the music they're sharing, and to follow them directly.

If you like, you might also like previously mentioned, another great streaming webapp to get lost in.

We've seen some good music discovery services and some really bad ones in the past. The worst services force you to listen to songs just because someone else has added them, without actually making sure you'd like the music before connecting you with that other person. I can think of a half-dozen that promised "music based on what your friends like," that completely ignore the fact that I may not always enjoy my friends' tastes in music. Sign up, and you're treated to a bunch of songs you can't wait to skip through. On the other hand, the best services connect you with people based on common tastes first and relationship second.

They make sure you and the other person would enjoy hearing the music that you both have listed, and then they start the tunes. The beauty of the great ones is that they can play the music you already like while simultaneously guiding you to new songs and new artists that you'd enjoy, all without playing the same tracks over and over, or depending on other people to pick great music before you can hear it. Like we said, give something new a try: the worst thing that could happen is that you discover something new you'll fall in love with.

Photo by Jonathan Kriz.

17 Apr 00:00


Before you say anything, no, I know not to leave my computer sitting out logged in to all my accounts. I have it set up so after a few minutes of inactivity it automatically switches to my brother's.
16 Apr 11:40

Improve Power Usage / Battery Life In Linux With TLP

by (Andrew)
There are various tweaks that you can apply to your laptop to save battery power, but many of them depend on the hardware, Linux distribution, some are outdated or too hard to apply for regular users and so on. TLP is an advanced power management command line tool for Linux that tries to apply these settings / tweaks for you automatically, depending on your Linux distribution and hardware.

Ubuntu laptop

TLP applies the following settings depending on the power source (battery / ac):
  • Kernel laptop mode and dirty buffer timeouts;
  • Processor frequency scaling including "turbo boost" / "turbo core";
  • Power aware process scheduler for multi-core/hyper-threading;
  • Hard disk advanced power management level and spin down timeout (per disk);
  • SATA aggressive link power management (ALPM);
  • PCI Express active state power management (PCIe ASPM) – Linux 2.6.35 and above;
  • Runtime power management for PCI(e) bus devices – Linux 2.6.35 and above;
  • Radeon KMS power management – Linux 2.6.35 and above, not fglrx;
  • Wifi power saving mode – depending on kernel/driver;
  • Power off optical drive in drive bay (on battery).

Additional TLP functions:
  • I/O scheduler (per disk);
  • USB autosuspend with blacklist;
  • Audio power saving mode – hda_intel, ac97;
  • Enable or disable integrated wifi, bluetooth or wwan devices upon system startup and shutdown;
  • Restore radio device state on system startup (from previous shutdown);
  • Radio device wizard: switch radios upon network connect/disconnect and dock/undock;
  • Disable Wake On LAN;
  • WWAN state is restored after suspend/hibernate;
  • Undervolting of Intel processors – requires kernel with PHC-Patch;
  • Battery charge thresholds – ThinkPads only;
  • Recalibrate battery – ThinkPads only.

TLP applies these settings automatically on startup and every time you change the power source. To use it, all you have to do is install TLP, however, there are some settings that you can apply manually, overwriting the TLP default settings, such as enabling or disabling the WiFi, Bluetooth or Wwan (3G or UMTS) radios, switching between AC or battery settings, ignoring the actual power source, apply autosuspend for all attached USB devices or power off the optical drive.
There are also some TinkPad-only settings that you can use, like temporarily changing the battery charge thresholds, temporarily set battery charge thresholds to factory settings, recalibrating the battery and more.
For more about these settings, see the TLP homepage or consult the TLP manpage (type "man tlp" in a terminal).
I've only been using TLP for a couple of hours so I can't say yet how efficient this tool is regarding battery life, but I've noticed that my laptop's temperature is lower than before using TLP. You may have seen an icon on my Unity launcher in some posts on WebUpd8, which displays a number that's usually around 65 - that's Psensor and it displays the CPU temperature (Celsius; it's 165 degrees Fahrenheit) - here's an example. Well, after installing TLP, the CPU temperature didn't go past 55 degrees Celsius (135 degrees Fahrenheit), at least not yet, with regular desktop usage: using a browser with quite a few tabs open, a text editor and a few AppIndicators running, under Unity. This, of course, depends on various factors but so far this tool seems to do its job. Also, some Reddit users have reported that TLP makes quite a big difference.

Install TLP in Ubuntu

Before proceeding with the installation, there are a couple of things you need to do:
  • firstly, if you've added any power saving settings / scripts (e.g.: in /etc/rc.local), remove them or else TLP may not work properly;
  • remove laptop-mode-tools ("sudo apt-get remove laptop-mode-tools").

Ubuntu (and Linux Mint, etc.) users can install TLP by using its official PPA. Add the PPA and install TLP using the following commands:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:linrunner/tlp
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install tlp tlp-rdw

TLP will automatically start  upon system startup, but to avoid having to restart the system to get it running for the first time, you can start it (required only the first time) using the following command:
sudo tlp start

There are some optional packages you can install for some extra features:
  • smartmontools - needed to display disk drive S.M.A.R.T. data;
  • ethtool - needed to disable wake on lan.

Install these tools (available in the Ubuntu repositories) using the following command:
sudo apt-get install smartmontools ethtool

There are also some ThinkPad only, optional packages you may need:
  • tp-smapi-dkms - needed for battery charge thresholds and ThinkPad specific status output of tlp-stat;
  • acpi-call-tools - acpi-call is needed for battery charge thresholds on Sandy Bridge and newer models (X220/T420, X230/T430, etc.).

Install these packages using the following command:
sudo apt-get install tp-smapi-dkms acpi-call-tools

Other Linux distributions: there are TLP packages for Debian 6.0+, Arch Linux, openSUSE 11.4+, Gentoo, Fedora 16+ - see the TLP homepage for installation instructions. You can grab the source / report bugs @ GitHub
Make sure to also read the TLP FAQ.

application seen on Reddit; image via

Originally published at WebUpd8: Daily Ubuntu / Linux news and application reviews.

15 Apr 11:19

Magie al Borgo 2013

by andrea caglioni
Associazione "Feste in Costa"

in collaborazione con

Comune di Costa di Mezzate

e con il patrocinio di

Regione Lombardia
Assessorato Culture, Identità e Autonomie

Provincia di Bergamo
Assessorato alla Cultura



Magie al Borgo
San Giorgio

Festival internazionale
d'Arte di Strada

Costa di Mezzate (BG)

26-27-28 aprile 2013


Una manifestazione di richiamo internazionale che ha il pregio di far convivere arti espressive, teatro di strada, circo, musica, storia, gastronomia e tanto altro ancora. Una magia che dura da più di dieci anni e ogni volta restituisce al piccolo borgo antico l’atmosfera dei tempi in cui ci si ritrovava nei cortili e nelle piazze per fare festa. Un appuntamento in grado di mobilitare le risorse di tempo e volontà degli abitanti e di riversarle su un ramo della ricerca teatrale che è diretta figlia delle ultime avanguardie e di una contemporaneità divenuta finalmente popolare. Specialità antiche, che negli ultimi decenni hanno ricevuto nuova linfa e costruito una nuova identità, al confine tra circo, mimo, danza e arte girovaga.

Questi gli ingredienti del Festival Magie al Borgo che in soli tre giorni ospiterà numerosi gruppi provenienti da tutto il mondo, ben 23 compagnie e 81 artisti per 24 spettacoli in 87 repliche, con l'ospitalità di anteprime e debutti di alcune novità della stagione e degli spettacoli vincitori del concorso nazionale Cantieri di Strada. Alcuni momenti saranno dedicati alla promozione delle espressioni artistiche in spazi aperti con i saggi di alcuni corsi di teatro e circo locali. Cornice di tutto questo le suggestive piazze e vie del borgo trasformate in palcoscenico, luci e scenografie ne esalteranno gli ambienti e gli spettacoli. A disposizione dei visitatori più punti di ristoro dove poter degustare prodotti tipici della cucina bergamasca.Nato in occasione della festività di San Giorgio e giunto alla XIII edizione, oggi Magie al Borgo si conferma un festival di rilievo europeo in grado di rappresentare una riconquista di spazi e tempi a misura d'uomo per una festa della collettività ed un incontro delle culture. Un appuntamento imperdibile per il pubblico (sino a 30.000 presenze nelle scorse edizioni) e per la comunità locale, da sempre coinvolta nella realizzazione dell'evento e in attività collaterali (laboratori di teatro e circo, scenografia e sartoria teatrale). L'associazione Feste in Costa, ente promotore che unisce le associazioni di volontariato del paese e l'amministrazione comunale, ha ottenuto per l'evento il patrocinio della Regione Lombardia (Assessorato Culture, Identità e Autonomie), della Provincia di Bergamo (Assessorato alla Cultura) e della Fondazione della Comunità Bergamasca.


Vie, corti e piazze del borgo antico di Costa di Mezzate, un paese poco distante dalla città di Bergamo e situato all’imbocco della Val Cavallina. Aggrappato al colle e aperto alla pianura il paese offre scorci suggestivi su cui domina l'imponente castello medievale risalente al XII secolo. Il centro storico, reso interamente zona pedonale, ospiterà gli spettacoli in via Roma, cortile Rasetto, piazza Nobili Zoppi, via Camozzi, piazza XXV Aprile, nell'anfiteatro e piazzale del Municipio.


Giorno Ora Artista Paese Spettacolo Spazio

venerdì 20:15 Feste in Costa
Scopertura stemma piazzetta Torre

20:30 Corso Teatro Ragazzi Costa di Mezzate Saggio "Libri in Scena" cortile Rasetto

20:45 Gruppo Teatro Feste in Costa Costa di Mezzate Saggio "Ma va là!" cortile Rasetto

21:15 Mistral Chile Bakika piazzola via Roma

21:30 Envol Distratto Francia-Italia Duos Habet piazzetta Torre

22:00 Città Teatro Italia Coffe Scioc anfiteatro Municipio

23:00 Les Philebulistes Francia Arcane piazzale Municipio


sabato 9:30 Linus Italia Ludobus Giochingiro piazzale Municipio

9:30 Alchimia Italia Laboratorio Animali anfiteatro Municipio

15:30 Magicaboola Italia Attaccati alla Luna itinerante

16:00 Grande Giro Italia Il Grande Giro piazzola via Roma

16:00 Slapstick Duo Italia Olga itinerante

16:00 Mattacchioni Volanti Italia La sostenibile leggerezza dell'essere itinerante

16:15 Valentino Rossi Italia Shakeofrenia anfiteatro Municipio

16:30 Matteo Galbusera Italia The Loser piazza XXV Aprile

16:45 Madame Rebinè Italia Cabaré piazza Nobili Zoppi

17:00 Envol Distratto Francia-Italia Duos Habet piazzetta Torre

17:00 Pepino e Fedele Italia Jukes and the box itinerante

17:15 Ziba Svizzera Slap-Romance cortile Rasetto

17:15 Scuola Circo Ragazzi Costa di Mezzate Saggio "Artisti erranti" anfiteatro Municipio

17:30 Ugo Sanchez Jr. Italia BURRASCA cortile Rasetto

17:30 RasOTerrA Italia ToteM piazzale Municipio

18:00 Compagnia dei Ciarlatani Italia Cecco e Alessio Giullari anfiteatro Municipio

18:00 Slapstick Duo Italia Olga itinerante

18:00 Mattacchioni Volanti Italia La sostenibile leggerezza dell'essere itinerante

18:15 Andreanne Thiboutot Canada Hoopelaï piazza Nobili Zoppi

19:00 Magicaboola Italia Attaccati alla Luna itinerante

19:30 Matteo Galbusera Italia The Loser piazza XXV Aprile

19:30 Slapstick Duo Italia Olga itinerante

19:30 Mattacchioni Volanti Italia La sostenibile leggerezza dell'essere itinerante

19:45 Ziba Svizzera Slap-Romance piazza Nobili Zoppi

20:00 Ugo Sanchez Jr. Italia BURRASCA cortile Rasetto

20:15 Martina Nova Italia LUCE piazzola via Roma

20:15 RasOTerrA Italia ToteM piazzale Municipio

20:30 Envol Distratto Francia-Italia Duos Habet piazzetta Torre

20:45 Pepino e Fedele Italia Jukes and the box itinerante

20:45 Andreanne Thiboutot Canada Hoopelaï piazza Nobili Zoppi

21:00 Grande Giro Italia Il Grande Giro piazzola via Roma

21:15 Valentino Rossi Italia Shakeofrenia anfiteatro Municipio

21:30 Compagnia dei Ciarlatani Italia Gran varietà dei Ciarlatani cortile Rasetto

21:30 Mattacchioni Volanti Italia La sostenibile leggerezza dell'essere itinerante

21:45 Slapstick Duo Italia Olga itinerante

21:45 Martina Nova Italia LUCE piazzola via Roma

22:00 RasOTerrA Italia ToteM piazzale Municipio

22:00 Madame Rebinè Italia Cabaré piazza Nobili Zoppi

22:30 Ziba Svizzera Slap-Romance piazza Nobili Zoppi

22:45 Martina Nova Italia LUCE piazzola via Roma

23:00 Lady Cocktail Belgio Les filles du 2ème piazza XXV Aprile

23:15 Les Philebulistes Francia Arcane piazzale Municipio

23:45 Magicaboola Italia Attaccati alla Luna itinerante

domenica 10:30

Santa Messa giardino Castello Camozzi

15:30 Magicaboola Italia Attaccati alla Luna itinerante

16:00 Grande Giro Italia Il Grande Giro piazzola via Roma

16:00 Slapstick Duo Italia Olga itinerante

16:00 Mattacchioni Volanti Italia La sostenibile leggerezza dell'essere itinerante

16:15 Valentino Rossi Italia Shakeofrenia anfiteatro Municipio

16:30 Matteo Galbusera Italia The Loser piazza XXV Aprile

16:45 Madame Rebinè Italia Cabaré piazza Nobili Zoppi

17:00 Envol Distratto Francia-Italia Duos Habet piazzetta Torre

17:00 Pepino e Fedele Italia Jukes and the box itinerante

17:15 Ziba Svizzera Slap-Romance cortile Rasetto

17:30 Ugo Sanchez Jr. Italia BURRASCA cortile Rasetto

17:30 RasOTerrA Italia ToteM piazzale Municipio

17:45 Lady Cocktail Belgio Les filles du 2ème piazza XXV Aprile

18:00 Compagnia dei Ciarlatani Italia Cecco e Alessio Giullari anfiteatro Municipio

18:00 Slapstick Duo Italia Olga itinerante

18:00 Mattacchioni Volanti Italia La sostenibile leggerezza dell'essere itinerante

18:15 Andreanne Thiboutot Canada Hoopelaï piazza Nobili Zoppi

18:30 Martina Nova Italia LUCE piazzola via Roma

18:30 Circo Puntino Italia Effetto Caffeina piazzale Municipio

19:00 Magicaboola Italia Attaccati alla Luna itinerante

19:30 Matteo Galbusera Italia The Loser piazza XXV Aprile

19:30 Slapstick Duo Italia Olga itinerante

19:30 Mattacchioni Volanti Italia La sostenibile leggerezza dell'essere itinerante

19:45 Ziba Svizzera Slap-Romance piazza Nobili Zoppi

19:45 RasOTerrA Italia ToteM piazzale Municipio

20:00 Ugo Sanchez Jr. Italia BURRASCA cortile Rasetto

20:15 Martina Nova Italia LUCE piazzola via Roma

20:15 BrassatoDrum Italia Concerto anfiteatro Municipio

20:30 Envol Distratto Francia-Italia Duos Habet piazzetta Torre

20:45 Circo Puntino Italia Effetto Caffeina piazzale Municipio

20:45 Pepino e Fedele Italia Jukes and the box itinerante

20:45 Andreanne Thiboutot Canada Hoopelaï piazza Nobili Zoppi

21:00 Grande Giro Italia Il Grande Giro piazzola via Roma

21:15 Valentino Rossi Italia Shakeofrenia anfiteatro Municipio

21:30 Compagnia dei Ciarlatani Italia Gran varietà dei Ciarlatani cortile Rasetto

21:30 Mattacchioni Volanti Italia La sostenibile leggerezza dell'essere itinerante

21:45 Slapstick Duo Italia Olga itinerante

22:00 RasOTerrA Italia ToteM piazzale Municipio

22:00 Madame Rebinè Italia Cabaré piazza Nobili Zoppi

22:30 Ziba Svizzera Slap-Romance piazza Nobili Zoppi

22:45 Martina Nova Italia LUCE piazzola via Roma

23:00 Pipototal Francia Deambuloscopie itinerante

23:45 BrassatoDrum Italia Concerto anfiteatro Municipio

Artisti sezione Premiere (anteprime e debutti 2013)

Artisti vincitori "Cantieri di Strada" 2012 (concorso FNAS)

Il programma potrà subire piccole variazioni motivate da problemi organizzativi, di cui verrà dato notizia sul luogo.


Data la grossa affluenza di pubblico e per favorire una migliore visione degli spettacoli invitiamo gli spettatori a portare con se un cuscino o uno sgabello.

Gino Copelli

Lorenzo Baronchelli

Un sincero ringraziamento a tutti i volontari che dedicano tempo ed energie per la buona riuscita dell'iniziativa.

Grazie inoltre ai bambini ed alle insegnanti che hanno partecipato alla realizzazione delle scenografie.


Associazione "Feste in Costa"
via Roma, 19
Costa di Mezzate (BG)
tel 035683399
10 Apr 15:59

How animals eat their food

by Jason Kottke

This video would be a lot better without the first 15 seconds (sippy cups? talking? who cares?) but the rest of it is pants-wettingly amazing.

Tags: food   video
07 Apr 12:15

Homemade Mosquito Trap

by Jonco

Mosquito trapWorks on Gnats too!

Items needed:

1 cup of water
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 gram of yeast
2-liter plastic bottle

1. Cut the plastic bottle in half.
2. Mix brown sugar with hot water. Let cool. When cold, pour in the bottom half of the bottle.
3. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes.
4. Place the funnel part, upside down, into the other half of the bottle, taping them together if desired.
5. Wrap the bottle with something black, leaving the top uncovered, and place it outside in an area away from your normal gathering area. (Mosquitoes are drawn to the color black or white.)

Change the solution every 2 weeks for continuous control.


Thanks Cari


03 Apr 07:00

How To Make Perfect M and M Cookies

by Jenny

How To Make Perfect M and M Cookies by Picky Palate

I’ve been teasing you with my Perfect M and M cookies for over a week now on Instagram.  I had to re-test them to make sure they were just perfect for you!  …..well they are, so I’m hoping it’ll be worth the wait.

So, what defines a perfect cookie to you?  It’s quite different for everyone I imagine.  For me, the cookie has to be soft but crispy around the edges with just the right texture.  Also, they must not be flat.  This cookie that I’ve developed has all of those things which is why this post is called How To Make Perfect M and M Cookies :)

Wanna know the secret to creating the lovely texture and shape to these cookies?!!

The Secret

Here’s the secret.  I added 3 tablespoons of instant vanilla pudding powder to my dough.  You’ll get perfectly fluffy, chewy and bakery style cookies every time.

Let’s take a look at my recipe!

creaming sugars

Butter and sugars please!

eggs and vanilla

Egg and vanilla.


Flour, salt and baking soda please :)

vanilla pudding mix

Magical ingredient, the vanilla pudding mix.


Give a nice stir and get ready to add the fun stuff.

mini chips and mini m and m

Oh yah!  Lately I’ve been using Mini Chocolate Chips for my cookies.  Regular size works too, whatever floats your boat.  I do recommend using the mini M and M’s though.  They can be tricky to find.  These were bought at Walmart and Frys in Mesa, AZ.


For the love of chocolate chips.

M and M

Be still my mini M and M heart.


Yes please!

M and M Cookie Dough

My kind of dough.

M and M Cookie Dough Picky Palate

Do not press the cookie dough before baking.   Leave just like this.

How To Make Perfect M and M Cookies by Picky Palate

This is how they’ll come out.  Perfect!  Enjoy friends!

How To Make Perfect M and M Cookies by Picky Palate

How To Make Perfect M and M Cookies

How To Make Perfect M and M Cookies by Picky Palate Ingredients

  • 1 stick/1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose Gold Medal Flour
  • 3 tablespoons Instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1-1 1/2 cups Mini M and M’s


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl cream your butter and sugars until well combined. Add your egg and vanilla mixing to combine. Add your flour, pudding mix, baking soda and salt, stirring to combine. Add chips and m and m’s stirring to combine.
  3. With a medium cookie scoop, place dough 1 inch apart from each other. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked through. Let cool on cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Enjoy!

Makes 2 dozen cookies

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The post How To Make Perfect M and M Cookies appeared first on Picky Palate.

03 Apr 17:25

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau

by Christopher Jobson

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian
Armadillo, Boy, Cat, Dove, Elephant, Frog

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian
Girl, Handstand, Iguana, Jellyfish, Koala, Ladybug

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian
Manatee, Nautilus, Owl, Penguin, Quail, Rabbit, Seahorse

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian
Tiger, Urchin, Viper, Wolf, Xiphosura (Horseshoecrab), Yoga, Zebra

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian

An Alphabet of Animals Carved from Crayons and Other Miniature Pencil Works by Diem Chau sculpture pencils miniature crayons animals abecedarian

An artist’s medium is as varied as imagination allows and you’ll find hundreds, maybe even thousands of them here on Colossal. But occasionally a medium itself is altered to create an artwork, as is the case with Seattle artist Diem Chau (previously here and here) who works within the narrow confines of graphite pencil leads and colored crayons to carve her delicate sculptures of animals and people. A native of Vietnam, Chau and her family came to America as refugees in 1986 and would later receive a BFA from Cornish College of the Arts after which she began exhibiting her works in New York, Miami, Seattle and Los Angeles.

Luckily we’ll finally get a glimpse of Chau’s miniature carvings here in Chicago at Packer Schopf Gallery opening this Friday. Almost everything you see here will be on view and the artist will be giving a talk at 1pm the following day on April 6th, 2013. See more of her new A-Z series on Flickr and on her blog.

02 Apr 09:15

Essential tools for every web designer

by Andy Leverenz

Every web designer requires the right tools to do their job. To create well crafted original designs you certainly need to be inspired to do so.

Getting to that point is sometimes the hardest challenge in the field of web design. Luckily enough for us and our fellow design community there are tools available to assist in completing the job quicker and more efficiently.

Below, I have outlined a list of tools I recommend for any web designer. Be sure to bookmark these pages so you can utilize them to your advantage like I have!


Adobe Kuler (free)

A great tool offered by Adobe which allows members to upload, create, and edit color schemes of their choice.


Pictaculous (free)

From the creators of Mailchimp comes a color palette generator different to any other. Simply upload an image and colors within the image are sampled to create a custom color scheme.


Colorzilla (free)

ColorZilla for Google Chrome is an extension that assists web developers and graphic designers with color related tasks – both basic and advanced.ColorZilla includes a Color Picker, Eye Dropper, Gradient Generator and many additional advanced color tools. (free)

Many designers turn to for great inspiration. You can search common terms but even better you can search by color. Visit and click the explore link in the top navigation and then select colors to explore inspiration for your designs by color.


Hues ($2.99)

Interested in native apps rather than web apps? Hues from giant comet is a color scheming tool for you. At only $2.99 from the app store you can sample colors on any project you’re working on.



Google Webfonts (free)

Google has numerous web fonts for any web designer to make great use of. They are free and incredibly easy to implement into your projects.


Font Squirrel (free)

Font Squirrel is your best resource for free, hand-picked, high-quality, commercial-use fonts. Even if that means they send you elsewhere to get them.


Lost Type (from $1)

The Lost Type Co-Op is a Pay-What-You-Want Type foundry, the first of its kind. With a great selection of fonts any web designer could push their designs to the next level.


Typecast (from $29 per month)

Typecast is a very valuable tool which allows you to quickly style, check readability, and rendering as you work. Instead of downloading web fonts and constantly changing the way they read inside a Photoshop document this new technology will help any designer’s work flow.



Balsamiq (from $79)

Balasmiq is a rapid wireframing tool used to produce mockups of user experiences. Their sketched UI design embraces the fact that it’s a tool for brainstorming and critical thinking when it comes to designing with users in mind. Options to design for web, mobile, and tablets all exist and are easy to implement.


moqups (free)

moqups is a HTML5 app used to create wireframes, mockups or UI concepts. The style and features available are very similar to balsamiq. It all boils down to which tool you are more comfortable using.


Mockflow (from free)

Mockflow is an online wire framing tool like the couple I mentioned above. The feature I find neat is the collaboration tools. You can make notes to allow another user to see your changes or concerns as well as chat with each other in live time regarding important UI decisions or functionality.


Google Drawing (free)

A valuable tool that a lot of web designers pass up is Google Drawing. While it doesn’t feature any presets like those on balsalmiq or moqups, it is an entirely free service which you can store on your online google drive. You simply need a gmail address to get started.


Photoshop/Indesign/Fireworks (from $49.99 per month)

The easiest of solutions in my opinion is to create a wireframe from scratch. Going this route is only limited by your creativity and imagination instead of preset UI solutions like many wire framing tools offer. It may take longer but the end result is more personal and customized to fit each individual user experience be it a website, app, mobile website, or tablet app.


Layout and Boilerplates

960 Grid (free)

The 960 grid is the benchmark of the web. Every good web designer should already understand the importance using a foundational grid for their layout as it keeps web design much more usable for the end user. The accompanying photoshop actions in the download have saved me numerous hours of getting alignment issues in check.


1140 CSS Grid ($5 donation)

If you’re interested in a wider grid width then I recommend the 1140 CSS grid as a great starting point. The complete grid fits perfectly to a 1280 monitor and better yet for smaller monitors or devices the grid becomes fluid and adapts to any width of the browser.


Bootstrap (free)

If you’re looking for a pre-made user experience out of the box, then bootstrap will become your best friend. There are numerous features bundled with the framework which is completely adaptive and sexy looking to boot.


LessFramework 4 (free)

Less is a framework dedicated to making websites truly adaptive. It’s made to fit nearly any device on the market. It contains 4 layouts and 3 sets of typography presets, all based on a single grid.


Skeleton (free)

Skeleton is simply a great starting point for any website. Its simple, light weight structure benefits those who are looking to get started without studying up on how the framework really works.


Foundation by Zurb (free)

Foundation just released Foundation 4 which according to them is the most advanced responsive front-end framework in the world. With many new added features and awesome templates to start off with I can say that I am a true fan. Test drive it today.


Reset CSS (free)

Without a doubt this globally recognized browser CSS reset is an absolute must for any web designer to offer their designs across any platform or browser.


Content Management

WordPress (free)

WordPress takes the cake when it comes to Content Management Systems. Originally the most popular blog posting platform has turned into that and more in the CMS world.


Joomla (free)

Joomla is another popular CMS used by millions worldwide. Much like WordPress the default layout installed with the CMS is user friendly and mobile ready.


Expression Engine (from $299)

Developed by EllisLab, Expression Engine is a CMS built with the help from an open source PHP framework called Codeigniter. Many larger corporations like Apple, Ford, Nike, and Sony choose Expression Engine to fit their own demands. Expression Engine as a result is not a free CMS but it’s definitely worth reading up on and/or downloading a copy to become familiar with, for future work you may encounter.


Drupal (free)

Drupal is an open source content management platform for powering millions of websites and applications. It’s built, used, and supported by an active and diverse community of people around the world. Drupal can be used for everything from blogs to extensive web applications.


Radiant CMS (free)

Radiant is a no-fluff, open source content management system designed with small teams in mind. Their slogan says it all: content management simplified.


Useful Apps, Actions, and Resources

GuideGuide (free)

GuideGuide is an awesome photoshop extension which allows you to create perfect grids on the fly. By using GuideGuide you can create more accurate columns,rows, midpoints, and baselines with one click.


iOS Photoshop Actions & Workflows (free)

One of my favorite resources is on a website called The specific article features a detailed listed of actions and workflows created by Bjango. Actions to create new templates for iPhone, or iPad are made with a simple click or if you’re designing an app icon for an iPhone app there is a great action which resizes the app to each pixel width and height necessary. This find was the equivilent to finding gold for me.


By People (free)

By People is a great and simple website feature packed with resources which are all free and easy to use.


Temboo (from free)

Temboo lets developers focus on what makes their software unique. Temboo normalizes access to APIs, databases, and more to save you time and give you the creative space you need.


LittleIpsum (free)

Download this! If you’re a web designer on a mac, you’ll use this every day. I promise!! (free)

Awesome Fontstacks is a great online tool to help you mix and match web fonts on the fly. When you are satisfied with your fontstack you get greeted with ready-to go CSS code.


Code Editors

Coda 2 (from $99)

Ever since coda was introduced to me I have been a fan. I typically compare other code editors to coda and for me Coda always wins the fight. This may be different for you but I suggest giving coda a try if you haven’t yet. Coda2 is packed with features and easy to use UI which makes coding for the web a breeze.


SublimeText 2 ($70)

SublimeText 2 is right up there with Coda for me. There are a ton of features and the sleek UI of the app itself lets you concentrate on the coding process rather than messing with the app to get it in usable condition for your own projects.


TextMate (from $59)

TextMate brings Apple’s approach to operating systems into the world of text editors. It’s simple and easy to use and takes up less screen real estate than many other Code Editors.


Aptana Studio (free)

Aptana Studio is the industry’s leading web application IDE. Available for both Mac and PC this software harnesses amazing potential to code virtually any type of application you can think of.


BBEdit ($49.99)

BBEdit is a professional HTML and text editor for Mac.


FTP Clients

CyberDuck ($23.99)

By far my favorite FTP client is CyberDuck. There’s endless ways to connect to web servers, local servers, access devices via ssh, and more. A great tool available for both Mac and PC platforms.


FileZilla (free)

FileZilla is a free FTP solution. It’s also open source software.


Transmit ($34)

From the makers of Coda comes Transmit. A very fast and effective solution for FTP.


FireFTP (free)

Fire FTP is a client available for Firefox users. The application is built into the mozilla browser and offers a quick and easy way to transfer your files.


Have you tried out these resources? Have we missed any of your favorites? Let us know in the comments.


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