Weekly Web Harvest for 2016-12-04

  • ChronodeVFD: A Cyberpunk Wristwatch | johngineer

    The ChronodeVFD is a personal project I’ve been working on for a couple of months. It’s a wristwatch built around the IVL2-7/5 VFD display tube. I originally purchased a few of these tubes to build a standard desk clock, but after playing around with them, I realized I could probably build a wristwatch too. The tube has a number of features which make it more suited than most Soviet-surplus VFDs for this purpose.

  • The NSA loved RSS in 2004

    the NSA is spreading the gospel of RSS to the NSOC Operations Support Staff.  She or he says: 

    On the Internet, data sources as varied as Dilbert, ESPN Sports news, bankrate.com mortgage news, and Microsoft security updates are all available via RSS. At last count there were over one million RSS feeds available on the web, with more being added every hour. RSS has the potential to revolutionize the way we view the web, both at home and here at work.
    It’s easy to forget how exciting everything was in 2004. 

  • ‘Clean your desk’ : My Amazon interview experience

    My second round interview involved me being on line with a proctor (from ProctorU), whose job was to provide tech support and make sure I don’t cheat. As preamble, the proctor made me download some software, one of which spun up a UI for chatting with the proctor and giving them access to my machine so they can take control of my entire computer, including mouse. The proctor then proceeded to shut down all my running applications for me (I never realized what an unnerving experience it is to see your mouse move on your screen under someone else’s bidding). Then, my system settings were messed around with to make sure I can’t take screenshots. Of course, my camera and microphone are taken control of as well.

    After similarly Big Brother’ing around for a while, I’m asked to raise my laptop and show my desk through the webcam, which I do. At this point I was told:

    “Clean your desk.”

    I wasn’t sure I’d heard correctly.
    “Clean your desk, please. Your institution [Amazon] has mandated that there cannot be any written material next to you while you take the exam.

  • Weeks 14 & 15: Final Project and Final Reflection | Peter Temple Research Solutions

    Don’t get me wrong, I won’t soapbox for long on this, but questions about “did you achieve the goals of the course?” I think I’m not the only one enrolled who can say “yes, absolutely.” When asked to back such a statement up, I have this, my blog, and everyone else’s blogs as well, to present as evidence. I mean, look at it! We have developed thousands of words across hundreds of blog posts pontificating our stances on whether or not an idea or a tool could be used and why. Think about it! If our blog posts averaged between 600-1200 words, then between every one of us in the course, we have enough material to fill a text book. I can’t think of a better sign of success than that. If we weren’t engaged with the materials and the lessons, then I imagine our participation and lack of enthusiasm would be far more noticeable. It is in our work, in our written (and sometimes recorded) voices: we care, and we have learned GREATLY from this course. I speak for myself, sure, but one has to assume others agree with me, right? I think the best lessons of all come from the interactions after we made our posts. You all have such incredible insights, and perceive things far differently than I do, I feel both honored and humbled to have been in your company this semester. I can’t think of a single activity that I walked into dreading, and I walked away with knowledge and skills gained from every task. Even where I stumbled in my own assignments, I learned what to look out for in the future, and try to have ways to work around it. My last video was a grainy, audibly irritating mess: this one was clearer, and the mic I got was better.

  • DNA Biohackers Sold A DIY Kit For Glowing Booze And Here’s What Happened – BuzzFeed News

    “Imagine a world in which after work you invite your friends over to have them try a custom beer you brewed that glows in the dark using your own genetically designed yeast,” the Odin’s website read early last week.
    The FDA also began to imagine this world after the kit started selling last week, unknownst to the agency — and then it started asking whether fluorescent homebrew was safe.
    By initially marketing the kit as a food-making device, the startup may have exposed a loophole in laws that haven’t caught up to a generation of biohackers tinkering with the DNA of bacteria, plants, and animals in their kitchens and garages.

  • start [The Digital Polarization Initiative]

    The Digital Polarization Project is an attempt to build student web literacy by having students participating in a broad, cross-institutional projects around issues of digital polarization.

    The primary purpose of this wiki is to provide a place for students to fact-check, annotate, and provide context to the different news stories that show up in their Twitter and Facebook feeds. It’s like a student-driven Snopes, but with a broader focus: we don’t aim to just investigate myths, but to provide context and sanity to all the news – from the article about voter fraud to the health piece on a new cancer treatment.

    h/t Mike Caulfield

  • Dark Patterns – User Interfaces Designed to Trick People

    A Dark Pattern is a user interface that has been carefully crafted to trick users into doing things, such as buying insurance with their purchase or signing up for recurring bills.