David Kramer's high-entropy blog

World’s Weirdest Festivals

This is from The TelegraphThe World’s Weirdest Festivals.  That website is filled with all sorts of fun photo list,  For example, there’s The World’s Weirdest Hotels.

In other cool photo stories, A Tree Grows In Bronchi (I love a good cultural reference mashup).  You’re welcome.

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Reducing Your Web Page Load Time With CSS Sprites

I knew about this technique in a general way but found an article through Digg that really explained it well.  This article not only does a great overview, it also links to several other great articles on the subject, like this one.

CSS Sprites is a technique borrowed from video games.  If you’ve got several small images you want to appear in the same spot and change based on some JavaScript event (hover, onclick, or really any other event), instead of using several separate .GIF files, put all the images into one file in a grid pattern, and using CSS’s background-position attribute to move the visible portion of the image around from one virtual image to the other.

The result is a dramatic decrease in the number of HTTP requests required to display the page.  And the combined image takes up less space than the sum of the individual images, due to header and color map information.


Deep Agile 2009 Update For The Unemployed

In this post, I talked about the upcoming Deep Agile 2009 event. Apparently there was some confusion about the “hardship discount”:

Are you unemployed? About to be? Hardship discounts are available for Deep Agile 2009 for those who wish to learn about modern embedded software development techniques and to network.

Due to strong sponsorship and great speakers, our Deep Agile event for April 25-26 has passed the “break even” point. As a community based non-profit professional group we can now afford to help more people attend this first of its kind event. In light of the current economic situation, we are offering discounted hardship tickets, priced at $75.00 for those who are unemployed, about to become unemployed, or who have some similarly difficult circumstance. Don’t wait – it’s first-come-first-served and seats are limited.  Please contact us via this link and include “hardship request” in the subject field to request a hardship discount. Continental breakfasts, lunches, and Saturday dinner are included in the price. (Note that Saturday dinner seats are limited and will soon be gone.)

Just to make it perfectly clear, this means that the entire ticket price is $75.  It’s not a $75 discount.  Woot!

Sorry for posting so much about this event, but I think it’s going to be a good one, and I’m all about helping the unemployed.


Deep Agile 2009 Update

I mentioned the upcoming Deep Agile 2009 conference in this post.  To explain what it’s all about, Nancy Van Schooenderwoert and  James Grenning recorded a podcast.  They asked me to host a copy of the .mp3 file, so I placed it at this link.  Jack Ganssle also recorded a podcast with Nancy, which can be found here.  This event should be a great event for people at all levels of Agile experince.


Colbert Gets Runner Up Prize

Steven Colbert got a huge number of his audience to vote for his name in the NASA contest to come up with a name for the space station module. While his name was by far the winning vote, NASA has chosen to not only go with the highest-voted name, but to go with the eighth most popular name, Tranquility.  The new name was announced on Colbert’s show last night.

But Colbert didn’t go home empty-handed.  As a consolation prize, they named a new treadmill after him.  It’s the Combined Operational Load Bearing External Resistance Treadmill (COLBERT).  I don’t think that’s good enough.  Whether you’re a Colbert fan or not, popular vote is the American way.  I’m kinda disappointed.  I guess there’s a fine line between “Popular Vote” and “Mob Rule”, but to select the eighth most popular vote seems like a sham to me.

This article has all the details.


Boston College Police Think Using Linux Is Suspicious Behavior

From Slashdot: This article tells of how a search warrant was granted simply because this student was running some alternate operating system they didn’t understand.  They suspected an email was sent from his computer which defamed a fellow student.  But instead of handling it as a disciplinary matter, they’re getting all Brazil on his a**.

“The Boston College Campus Police have seized the electronics of a computer science student for allegedly sending an email outing another student. The probable cause? The search warrant application states that he is ‘a computer science major’ and he uses ‘two different operating systems for hiding his illegal activity. One is the regular B.C. operating system and the other is a black screen with white font which he uses prompt commands on.’ The EFF is currently representing him.”

I saw a report on this on the news, which said they took every electronic device he owns, including is ipod (an infamous hacking tool, donchaknow.), his computer, and his cell phone.  He’s a Computer Sicence major, so he now has no way of completing his schoolwork.  And he lost his job at the computer lab.

This is a great combination of “Fear of the unknown” and “Shoot first, ask questions later”. Book burning at its finest.  If I were him, I would sue the school for the entire year’s tuition which will now go to waste, missed salary from his job at the lab, the replacement costs for all they took, and a big dollop for mental anguish from having his name dirtied with no evidence.

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