Archive for August, 2009

Firefox FlipClock in Six Languages

August 25th, 2009

FlipClock in Russian
My new FlipClock add on for Firefox has now been translated into Spanish, French, German, Portuguese and Russian and is in queue at Mozilla to graduate out of the developer sandbox, which means the install warnings should go away soon. w00t.

Web Code, Work

Kryptonite Lock versus a Bic Ball Point Pen

August 24th, 2009

Kryptonite Lock

More chore list this weekend included taking care of a bicycle in my garage that was locked up with a Kryptonite lock with no key (lost over several moves).

First thing I did was to text message a hard-core cycling friend, who suggested I YouTube search Bic Pen and Kryptonite. Turns out, opening an older cylinder-lock Kryptonite product is, with a bit of luck, actually pretty easy.

This lock picking technique revelation was made public a few years back, and Kryptonite quickly offered to fix the locks (a good percent of them could be opened) but only a small percent of owners took advantage of the offer.

  1. Step one was to find a ball point pen, and reduce it down to a single hollow plastic cylinder.
  2. The next step was to jam the plastic cylinder into the lock (not too hard) and rotate it around fruitlessly for about 9 minutes.
  3. Step three was to give the plastic cylinder a medium-strength tap with a hammer.
  4. With a few more twists back and forth, voila, the lock opened and the bicycle was saved.

My attempt to open my lock took about ten minutes, but I could probably do it again in just a few minutes by fast forwarding to the hammer step.

PS: If any bike thieves are reading this, I hate you. You and your kind have taken two of my favorite possessions from me at a time in my life when I couldn’t afford to replace them.

Fun, Trivia

Yahoo! Pipes

August 6th, 2009

Yahoo Pipes

I’ve been playing with Yahoo! Pipes with some success. The concept of Pipes is a great, and it is an ideal tool for the current online aggregation/mashup revolution.

My Yahoo pipe is an aggregation of several forums on two different sites, all regarding the building of spearguns (for spearing fish).

It can be subscribed to via RSS and JSON and I’m looking for project ideas that’ll let me go a little further with this. The final step was to add the RSS feed to my iGoogle homepage where it happily updates throughout the day:

iGoogle and Pipes

Web Code, Work

I ({‘JSON’:'Heart’});

August 5th, 2009


For those of us who are too lazy to parse XML, JSON is a great Web data format. And the fact that it can get around all sorts of cross-domain restrictions*.

I just posted a simple JSON-enabled HTML web page that accepts a zip code, and retrieves longitude and latitude from a Geonames JSON feed, and then uses that to look up the weather from the nearest weather station. I love the fact that this is possible without a single line of server-side code. The code rewrites the page’s DOM, dynamically appending a <script> tag to the page, and doesn’t use any of the standard AJAX functions.

Cross-Domain AJAX JSON Example

Fancy Cross-Domain AJAX JSON Example

Next up: a clickable map that will figure out your country and timezone. This functionality will solve about a dozen headaches I’ve been having with adding a selectable timezone feature to my FlipClock Firefox extension.

*Yes, there are many, many caveats that go along with to this statement

Web Code, Work

Twitter is for Old People

August 5th, 2009

Just posted this on my company blog, but thought I’d repost it here:

Answering Machine

Our head of QA, Bethany Garcia, circulated a link today to a (London) Times Online article about the Internet and other new technology as seen through the eyes of a 15 1/2 year old boy. Matthew Robson’s report for Morgan Stanley, How Teenagers Consume Media, is a very interesting insight into a generation that doesn’t listen to the radio, read the newspaper, or pay for music. I remember coming up with metaphors to explain the Internet to older folks, and this article makes me feel as though I’m on the receiving end. The report is a very quick read, and just as a tease:

“Teenagers never use real directories (hard copy catalogues such as yellow pages). This is because real directories contain listings for builders and florists, which as services that teenagers do not require.”

Web Code, Work