Capn Design

December 2010

This month I posted 21 entries, crafted 70 tweets, listened to 517 songs, watched 24 videos, bookmarked 2 sites, took 5 photos and favorited 50 things.

BuzzFeed's Top 20 Videos of 2010

It’s silly to think you could ever keep up with every funny video released, unless of course you work for BuzzFeed. I can confirm that 90% of these videos are humorous. If you want more, I can recommend you view posts from my videos tag.

I Just Had Sex

I love me some Lonely Island. The Digital Shorts on SNL remain one of the few redeeming aspects of that show. Be sure to watch this with the family on Christmas.

20101223fallingwater.JPG Falling Water Gingerbread House

This is the best gingerbread house I have ever seen. The end. [via kateri]

20101223tokyo.jpg Tokyo Compression

Michael Wolf photographed Tokyo subway riders pushed up against the door of a crowded train. Looking at their faces, it feels like my ride yesterday morning. While running to make it through closing doors, my bag got caught outside while I was inside. Instead of opening the doors quickly so I could bring in my bag, the conductor did nothing. For 60 seconds. While everyone stared at me. I survived, but I had wished there was a solid wall between me and the steely eyes of my fellow passengers.

Fuck You, 3D

Good news everybody! You can now buy some of your favorite films in THREEEEE DEEEEE. Here’s some info about costs, etc. from Gizmodo.

Avatar, the most wanted 3D movie of all time, is only available in a $300 “starter bundle” from Panasonic that includes two rechargeable 3D glasses. How to Train Your Dragon is in a “starter kit” from Samsung for $280, which includes two 3D active shutter glasses. What happens if you already have one type of TV and just want the other type of movie? Looks like you get two pair of glasses that you can’t use on your set.

Oh, hrm. That’s frustrating. Well, at least some movies don’t require you to pay so much money, right?

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Coraline are only available if you buy a Panasonic 3DTV. A TeeVee! And Bolt, which I’m sure is a fine dog movie in the realm of dog movies, is only gettable with Sony TVs. Same with Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

Okay, that sucks. It looks like those pushing 3D know it is not going to take off anytime soon, if ever, so they decided to confuse, frustrate, and overcharge their customers. It’s not a new approach, but I’m amazed that they still think this will work.

20101222jeanluc.jpg The Typography of Jean-Luc Godard

During the process of redesigning this site, I was looking for a bold, yet soft, sans-serif; something that made a statement and then wanted a hug. I should have looked to Jean-Luc. I’ll just watch some movies instead. [via youngna]

20101221dropcap.jpg Daily Drop Cap

Jessica Hische has been illustrating a drop cap every day. They are beautiful. That is all.

Six Indie iPhone Games for 99¢

Canabalt, Eliss, Solipskier, Osmos, Drop7, and Spider are all on sale. I own four of these games and that’s about 33% of all the iPhone games I own. Bonus: one-third of the proceeds will be going to charity.

Let It Dough!

Chris Neimann is at it again with a photo-illustrated blog post. If you like winter cookies (paging Natalie!) and cute things (paging Natalie and other people too!) I recommend you check it out. Also, I think this is a very sound budget.

Asset Allocation

I would have allocated some sprinkles money for ice cream, but that’s just me.

Word Lens

This iOS app will translate Spanish to English (or vice versa) live in a video. It’s stupid how fast this works and I will buy this immediately. It’s going to be a lifesaver on vacations. You can buy it here. [via @marcoarment]

Bygone Bureau's Best New Blogs

Well written and great suggestions. I subscribed to 33% of the blogs recommended. I have two blogs to suggest; one which began this year and one of which I rediscovered. It so happens they are both friends, but I think you’ll enjoying their writing as well. First, we have Angry Wayne. Wayne puts it better than I can:

I’m a cook (sometimes an angry one) who has left his stable world of an established New York eatery to travel the world for five months and get perspective and is now working furiously to start his own business.

Now that I have “free-time” I’m going to put my money (very little) where my mouth is (very big) and start writing about some ideas and thoughts related to food and life here.

Second, we have Adventures in a Pointless Forest, in which Vera makes everything sound wonderful, or interesting, or something. She always makes everything sound something. Two of my recent favorite posts are You might as well say ‘I eat what I see’ is the same as ‘I see what I eat’! and Op, pff. Op, pff. Op, pff.

My Favorite Kinect Hacks

Posted December 9, 2010

A month or so ago, Microsoft released the Kinect, a device that tracks your movement and let’s you control a game with your body. It’s spectacular technology and I have no interest in buying one. The games are subpar, it’s $150, and I actually want it more for non-game uses. Controlling my computer or aspects of my house via specific body movements is far more interesting.

On that note, here are my 4 favorite Kinect hacks. People quickly figured out how to make use of the thousands of IR light blasts and their experiments give some hints to future uses of the technology.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

This is my favorite hack of the bunch. If they’re not already using similar technology in Hollywood, they will be. [via waxy]

3D Video Capture with Kinect

This is the first hack that I saw and it blew my mind. If you had four cameras mounted in the center of your ceiling, you’d have complete coverage and be able to explore the space in 3D. It’s only a matter of time before high-end real estate picks up on this and let’s me view a demo unit live.

Optical Camouflage Demo with Kinect

This video goes on way too long, but it’s an invisibility cloak! We’ve discussed having an always-on video conference between our NY and SF offices. I’d love to turn on a real invisibility mode when I don’t want to be bothered. [via Engadget]

Interactive Puppet Prototype with Xbox Kinect

You only need to watch a few minutes of this, because you quickly realize that puppetry is going to get a lot more exciting. Imagine going to Disney World and watching actors perform a live, animated version of Toy Story. [via Ze]

The Air Handshake

You’ll laugh at Gary Neal here and his attempt to shake hands with the air, but I commend his dedication and focus to this sacred act. Without the post-free-throw hand shake, where would we be?

For a more in depth look at the impact of a botched handshake, I implore you to watch this video about the most awkward handshake of all time. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn something about yourself. In the words of Tom Hanneman, the long-time Timberwolves broadcaster, “Without question, this [handshake] is the worst thing I have ever seen.”

Email as Identity

Rafe pointed me to this Washington Post piece about what your email provider says about you. They discuss the big ones (Google, Yahoo, etc.) and they mostly get the right tone, but they’re a bit off. But the reason I’m linking to this is because they didn’t discuss people who have their own domains.

Generally, I am going to put more faith in someone who has their own domain name (a little less faith if there is no site). Whatever the reason for having their domain, it shows they’ve put some thought into how they want to be identified by the world. They also recognize that their domain is more likely than Gmail to outlive them. They also know how to set up a wireless router and write poignant blog posts about email addresses.

April Bloomfield, Burger Queen

I had never read the story behind April and her first restaurant, The Spotted Pig. I don’t think it would surprise many in the restaurant biz, but I love when someone so strong is picked from relative obscurity, dropped in a new city, and immediately kicks ass. I still don’t agree with her choice of Roquefort on the burgers, but I love how passionate she is about her choices and cooking in general.

Bloomfield’s enthusiasm is as boundless as her interests are narrow. One day, during a trip to London, she handed me her iPhone and told me to listen. I didn’t hear anything. “Take it in,” she said, putting the phone to my ear, like a conch shell. “It’s just amazing.” She had recorded the gentle hum of conversation in a pub, to use as a sort of lullaby.

Fluxblog 2010 Survey Mix

Matthew Perpetua has put together an eight-disc set of 157 of the best and most notable songs of 2010. This is much appreciated, as I’m starting to think about my favorite things of the year. My only complaint is Matthew’s reference to the archaic concept of a “disc”.

I think you’ll find that this serves as both a helpful guide to some of the year’s most exciting music and a surprisingly listenable series of mixes. Discover new stuff! Rediscover familiar artists in a new context! Jam out to ten and a half hours of world-class tunes! If you enjoy this, please do pass it on.

Will do, Matthew.

20101106sleeve.jpg Selvedge Denim iPhone Sleeve

I am linking to this iPhone case for a few reasons.

  1. It’s a really nice looking case, especially when you lay it against something that’s not denim.
  2. The company that makes these does so because “we weren’t happy with the selection that was out there, so we made our own.” It may not always be the best business plan, but you typically end up with something interesting.
  3. When it comes to phones, I prefer to go naked. There’s less stuff in my pocket and I like seeing how usage fades a product. On the other hand, this case is made of denim, so it’s guaranteed to wear and take on a life of its own. MS&Co. obviously thought about this, because they made their cases out of selvedge denim.
  4. I’m not going to buy it, but I want to remember it. It’s beautiful, but not for me. If I kept my phone in a man purse, it might be a different story.
Google Maps & Label Readability

If you use maps regularly, it’s pretty obvious that Google Maps is far more legible than Bing or Yahoo, but Justin O’Beirne explains why. The three primary reasons are white outlines around text, more diversity amongst label sizes, and label shading. His breakdown is incredibly clear, but I love this extra point.

When you are looking at a big city, Google removes smaller cities outside of the metro area. Below, I’ve included one of Justin’s image where he used the Google Maps API to remove everything but the city labels. The results are striking.


[via Daring Fireball]

20101104natgeo.jpg National Geographic's Photography Contest

Usually, when I look at Big Picture photo sets, I flip through all of the photos pretty quickly and move on, even when they’re beautiful. Occasionally, I’ll read the caption. With this latest set, I read every single caption and was amazed by the set’s breadth. After you finish doing the same, you can vote for your favorite before December 10th.

Better Than Beta

Posted December 3, 2010

Not quite two months ago, I attended Brooklyn Beta at the Invisible Dog, where I listened to half a dozen speakers and got to know the other web nerds there. I haven’t been to a lot of conferences, but the quality of speakers, attendees, tangibles, and intangibles were the best I’ve seen and I am counting the days until the next one..

I had hoped to write a post detailing all of the ways in which the conference was awesome, but Cameron, one of the founders, has done it for me. In A Friendly Web Conference, he describes all of the work and thinking that went into making Brooklyn Beta. And since he did such a great job, I’m going to quote a few passages.

[Y]our conference should have a narrative. As an organizer you should have a clear message beyond just, “Hey! I wants to make a conference.” Know what you want your attendees to take away from the event and weave a narrative with your speakers, venue, and conference structure that communicates that message clearly. For Brooklyn Beta, that was: MAKE SOMETHING YOU LOVE

This set the tone. Instead of just, “Here are a group of speakers you might have heard of packed into a hotel conference room,” they made decisions about the event that tied to the theme. From the food to the venue to the topics, everything came back to making something you love.

Our initial feeling regarding Internet was that we should skip it. Why, if we were working so hard to get together such an interesting group of folks to attend, would we have such an obvious distraction. We wanted our attendees to engage with each other and the speakers, not the AOL, the Yahoo! and the Myspace (all wildly popular with our audience). […] Having no Internet at a conference is a feature, not a bug.

At first, I was dismayed by this fact, but it turned out to be great. I took some notes on paper with a pen and I looked back at them later. It also meant I couldn’t try to squeeze in work between sessions so I actually talked to people.

Having a love of your neighborhood and sharing that is an essential part of keeping the atmosphere friendly. After all, when the conference is done, your attendees are going to spill into the streets and local bars and restuarants. They’ll enjoy it more if they feel at home.

This was huge. It’s crazy how many conferences are lazy and bring in shitty hotel food or sandwiches from a generic caterer. They offered up Bark hot dogs, Six Point beer and pizza from Sam’s, a great Italian restaurant that’s been around forever. The conference really felt like Brooklyn. And even better, since it was at a neighborhood spot, people spilled out into local bars right after.

On to Gamma

While it certainly helped that I knew a couple dozen people, this conference had much more going on. It was carefully crafted and that attention to detail came through. If it weren’t a little creepy, I would have wanted a sleepover with everyone in attendance, just so we could talk through the night.

In case it isn’t abundantly clear, hat’s off to Cameron Kozcon and Chris Shiflett. I owe you both a root beer.

20101203streetview.jpg 9 Eyes

I still can’t believe it, but all of the images from this blog are pulled directly from Google Street View. I wonder if the drivers of the van ever feel like war photographers. Should I call this in or just keep driving?

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