Asterisks in the sky

Happy (Con)trails

Originally uploaded by Ezra S F

Flickr member Zack Sheppard did me a huge favor yesterday picking this picture for a Flickr blog about Asterisks in the sky. So in one day this picture was exposed to 5,931 people.

Several of those looked at the adjacent picture and others for a total of 10,640 hits yesterday. Lots of comments on many of my photos.

Wow. Just wow.

Shortcut Annoyance

A few weeks ago, we had a discussion with our clients about a rash of students submitting the wrong files for assignments. These files were all Windows shortcuts to the actual document. The instructors were unable to open the file. The students were unaware of the mistake. So confusion all around makes for unhappy situations.

In my opinion this situation arises because Microsoft makes it difficult to notice a shortcut file isn’t the actual file on Windows.

  1. By default Windows XP and Vista (anyone know about Win 7?) have “Hide extensions for known file types” checked. So a student is unlikely to notice a shortcut has .lnk instead of .docx by looking at the file name. I think this situation was created to solve the issue of users renaming files to the wrong extension arbitrarily. Windows depends on the file extension for much software.
  2. Most file icons have a set appearance. Shortcut icons look like the target file only with a small white box with an arrow. Most users are likely to miss this distinction in my opinion.

Our recommendation to students is to remove the setting mentioned in #1. This ought to better help students figure out which file they are going to submit. Let’s hope, anyway.

Katie is All Smile

Katie is All Smile, originally uploaded by Ezra S F.

Yesterday was another Athens, GA Strobists meet. Like the previous meets, there was lots of talk about camera capabilities, radio trigger capabilities, working the camera within the flash synchronization speed, etc.

I did stand in for some shots while we waited on actual models to show up. I think I’ll stick to behind the camera.

Caught this one when Katie’s friend, Sara, said something to make Katie laugh.

As this was mostly at night, my Canon wasn’t focusing, so I shot in manual. While the light was right, most were out of focus. Suggestions?

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Resolution No.1 2009 Complete

I recently completed my first resolution for the year 2009: Read 10,000 pages of science, economics, health, history, or policy books.

Check the Reading page for the master list.

Titles in bold are the ones I recommend. (They also are probably the ones I quote the most.)

  1. Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection – John T. CacioppoWilliam Patrick – 11-JAN-2009 – 124 pp (started before Jan 1st, so count after) – Related book web site and blogbook Twitter
  2. The Long Tail, Revised and Updated Edition: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More – Chris Anderson – 26-JAN-2009 – 254pp (378 total) – Related book web siteTED talk
  3. Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less – Barry Schwartz – 31-JAN-2009 – est 236pp (614 total) – Related TED “Paradox of choice” talkTED “The real crisis? We stopped being wise” talk
  4. The World Without Us – Alan Weisman – 19-FEB-2009 – est 369pp (983 total) – Related book web site
  5. Buyology: Truth and Lies About Why We Buy and the New Science of Desire – Martin Lindstrom – 01-MAR-2009 – 297pp (1280 total) – Related book web site
  6. The Trojan War: A New History – Barry Strauss – 02-MAR-2009 – est 288pp (1568 total) – Related author siteblog
  7. Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution–and How It Can Renew America – Thomas L. Friedman – 09-MAR-2009 – est 421pp (1989 total) – Relatedauthor siteauthor’s New York Time articles feedfirst chapter
  8. The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet – Neil deGrasse Tyson– 09-MAR-2009 – 216pp (2205 total) – Related podcast with Dr. Moira Gunn
  9. Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and HappinessRichard H. ThalerCass R. Sunstein – Done – 271pp (2476 total) – Related book web siteblog,
  10. Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries – Neil deGrasse Tyson – Done – 306 pp (2882 total) – Related video about book
  11. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 – Steve Coll – Done – 721 pp (3603 total) – Related NPR: All Things ConsideredNew Yorker Update
  12. Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School – John Medina – Done – 312pp (3915 total) – Related the Rulesauthor speaking engagementsblog
  13. Under the Black Flag: The Romance and the Reality of Life Among the PiratesCordingly, David – 2009-MAY-10 – 244pp (4159 total) – Related reviewreview
  14. FDR – Jean Edward Smith – 2009-MAY-30 – est 636pp (4795 total)
  15. Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body – Shubin, Neil – 2009-MAY-30 – 205 pp (5000 total) – Related Quirks and Quarks interviewTiktaalik music videoColbert Report 2008-Jan-14 interview,
  16. The Logic of Life – Tim Harford – 2009-MAY-30 – 217 pp (5217 total)
  17. Warped Passages: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Universe’s Hidden DimensionsLisa Randall – 2009-JUN-11 – 471 pp (5688 total)
  18. The Omnivore’s Dilemma – Michael Pollan – 2009-JUL-08 – 415 pp (6103 total) – Related web site,
  19. Germs, Guns, and Steel – Jared Diamond – 2009-JUL-08 – 427 pp (6530 total) – Related video,
  20. Becoming Charlemagne: Europe, Baghdad, and the Empires of A.D. 800 – Jeff Sypeck– 2009-JUL-29 – 228 pp (6758 total) – Related web site,
  21. The French and Indian War: Deciding the Fate of North America – Walter R. Borneman – 2009-AUG-24 – 308 pp (7,066 total) – Related web site (really impressed I found it on the 5th page of results),
  22. Skin: A Natural History – Nina G. Jablonski – 2009-AUG-29 – 179 pp (7,245 total) – Related TED: on breaking the illusion of skin color,
  23. Einstein: His Life and Universe – Walter Isaacson – 2009-SEP-09 – 600 pp (8,045 total) – Related Einstein’s God video,
  24. My Stroke of Insight: A Brain Scientist’s Personal Journey – Jill Bolte Taylor – 2009-SEP-18 – 203 pp (8,248 total) – Related my blog post,
  25. The Selfish Gene – Richard Dawkins – 2009-SEP-24 – 356 pp (8,604 total) –
  26. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2006 – Brian Greene and Tim Folger – 2009-OCT-09 – 310 pp (8,914 total) –
  27. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007 – Richard Preston and Tim Folger – IN PROGRESS – 310 est pp (9,224 total) –
  28. The Quantum and the Lotus: A Journey to the Frontiers Where Science and Buddhism Meet – Matthieu Ricard – DONE – 306 est pp (9,530 total) – Related TED: On the habits of happiness,
  29. Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell – DONE – 299 pp (9,829 total)
  30. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008 – Jerome Groopman and Tim Folger – DONE – 310 pp (10,139 total)


Like a Post-Apocalytic Movie

Like a Post-Apocalytic Movie, originally uploaded by Ezra S F.

Yesterday I met with some other Flickrites to check out the Bostwick Cotton Gin Festival. There were easily a couple thousand people there, which is impressive for a town of 354.

(The photos I’ve posted so far at writing this post are just of Bostwick. Estimate I’ll end up posting another dozen before I’m done.)

We didn’t stay for the parade, but instead ventured over to the Nolan House (Evan’s awesome photo of the house). There were some donkeys and mules next to an old store. Then we stopped at Rutledge, a fertilizer factory in Newborn, and Mansfield. It was a fun, productive day.

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