Core77 has a short post on The Hoffman Dovetail Key, what appears to be a simple, elegant and compact system for dovetailing wood parts together.

For those not grasping it right away, this system can enable an absolutely radical change in your production system. Consider that items joined with these HD Keys require no glue, no glue-up, no cleaning up the squeeze-out, no clamps, no drying time. Finished pieces can be stacked as soon as they’re together with no worries about glue squeeze-out from one piece marring the one beneath it, obviating the need for racks.

I’ve been saying “biscuit joiner” when people ask me what my favorite tool is (they do ask, I don’t know why). I might have to change my answer now.

Share Button

One photographer’s journey against the bias of film made for white people. Well worth a slow and careful read.

Teaching The Camera To See My Skin

 

Share Button

I’ve always found mathematics beautiful. And I’ve always, or nearly always, felt that it was taught poorly. Too much time spent trying to get to the answer and almost no appreciation for the poetic magnificence around it. I saw this discussion on StackExchange and fell back in love with math all over again:

Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain

Just a little while ago I read about Moebius Noodles, [article in The Atlantic] a book (a movement?) that shares this love of math and honestly, to the core, believes that all children can learn to love math, too. It has to do with how we talk about it.

An excerpt:

“Calculations kids are forced to do are often so developmentally inappropriate, the experience amounts to torture,” she says. They also miss the essential point—that mathematics is fundamentally about patterns and structures, rather than “little manipulations of numbers,” as she puts it. It’s akin to budding filmmakers learning first about costumes, lighting and other technical aspects, rather than about crafting meaningful stories.

 

Share Button

Last Launch. Discovery, Endeavour, Atlantis – we make money not art.

Regine reviews the above-mentioned book by photographer Dan Winters–one of the few photogs allowed to photograph the last shuttle lift-offs, and a fantastically gifted one at that.

His photo of the Vertical Assembly Building, one of my favorite buildings (it has its own weather inside), is too cool for words.

That reminds me, take a look at this Cloudscapes installation by Tetsuo Kondo and Transsolar. They put a cloud in a glass box, and you can walk through it. Sounds about as interesting than the Rain Room.

Share Button

Welcome to National Atlas Streamer!.

Thanks to the USGS, an interactive map that lets you trace streams and rivers to their outlets. Click on a blue line and trace it upstream or down. Impressive.

Try clicking on the Chicago River and take a look at the long, improbable red line going all the way down the Mississippi, instead of quickly dumping into Lake Michigan. For those of you who don’t know the story, check out 99% Invisible’s feature. And subscribe to their podcast if you haven’t already.

Share Button

Simulating a TI calculator with crazy 11-bit opcodes.

A 1970s calculator sim via javascript, with an explanation of how those little computing machines worked.

Now’s a good time for me to recommend The Information: A History, A Theory, A Flood by James Gleick. An awesome, in-depth chronology of communication and the concept of information. There’s a great chapter on Babbage where he describes the original calcuators: people who wrote out tables of calculated numbers. It’s a great read.

Share Button

Do you hate the search “feature” they put in Windows 7/8? I think it’s terrible and slow. Since Google Desktop was discontinued–hold on, let me take a moment to grieve–it’s been a sad, slow, opaque world for me. While Outlook search has improved greatly, I think because they integrated LookOut, searching through Windows Explorer is painful. It takes too long, returns too many false positives and has a pointlessly complicated syntax for refined search.

I’ve looked around for a good free alternative, and I’ve come to rely on Agent Ransack. It’s zippy, bare bones ugly the way I like it, and has a great name to boot. Once installed, you can access it through the right-click menu.

Try it, I think you’ll like it.

Pro-tip: the hotkey is the letter “a” so you can right-click on a folder and type “a” to get to the search box fast. Or, if you’re in no-mouse/keyboard-only mode, hit the menu key to the left of the spacebar and tap “a.”

Here are some search alternatives, but I haven’t tried them myself.

And here’s the crazy syntax for making Windows search behave.

Share Button

Try this: when you hear something being described with two adjectives, add, “like some people I know.” It’s usually either spot-on accurate or just inappropriately funny.

Share Button

Photosynth – Capture your world in 3D.

For iPhone and Windows Phone

FREE

A must-have for architects in the field: superpowerful app that creates XY panoramas with your phone. I say XY because you can point your camera in any direction–left, right, up, down.

Why are panoramas so great? You know how you’ll take 100 photos on site, get back to your desk and realize you missed just one shot that would tell you how something was installed? Or you’ll forget what sequence you took the shots and not know how two photos go together? With a panorama you have a fighting chance at documenting everything you need.

You just aim your camera, no need to tap anything until you feel like you’re done. It auto-stitches all your shots, saves it as a flat fisheye shot in your camera roll, and keeps the panorama in your phone, in the app. You can name your panorama and use the GPS locator to identify where it’s taken.

On top of that, you can upload to photosynth.net (once you create an account), see the panorama in the browser and share through email and Facebook. You can also embed it in a webpage.

You can choose to make your panoramas public (there are some great hi-quality public ones on photosynth.net) or keep them private.

Great stuff. Go get it now.

BONUS: This is what Photosynth used to be. Really. Really amazing.

Share Button

American Rhetoric: The Power of Oratory in the United States.

It’s not a beautifully designed site, but it’s inordinately deep in content. If you miss the way people used to talk good, then read the best stuff here.

via MeFi

Once you’ve learned some high quality rhetoric, use this new bot at MIT called MACH to practice being a better public speaker.

At the heart of MACH is a complex system of facial and speech recognition algorithms that can detect subtle nuances in intonation while tracking smiles, head nods and eye movement…

The software then provides feedback about your performance… What’s particularly exciting is that the program requires no special hardware; it’s designed to be used with a standard webcam and microphone on a laptop.

Share Button