This discount code source really works. Whenever you are about to make a purchase online, you should go to RetailMeNot to check to see if it has discount coupons for your merchant. There’s a good chance you’ll find current codes, and you’ll also see the likelihood that they’ll work based on previous user’s experience. It’s a clean interface telling you what the discount is, when it expires and what percent chance it will work. In my experience, the probabilty is good if the codes are rated high. They also seem to have codes for pretty obscure and specialized stores I would not have expected. I’ve saved a lot of money this way and wish I knew about it long ago.
There are a lot of discount coupon sources on the web but most of these are subscription types: you are bombarded with sales offers on an ongoing basis. RetailMeNot is different: You solicit the exact discounts you need only when you need them. Instead of bombardment, you get discounts on demand. My kind of shopping.
And if you really want to browse for hot deals, they have current bargain discounts on their front page. But their real asset is discount codes on demand.
A Reed Diamond Christmas special podcast
I note that the last time I wrote anything here, it was raining. Oddly, it's raining again. The roof seems to be holding up just fine. I have a splendid fire going.
What I didn't mention that same day was that my semester eval came in from my advisor, and she was so damn nice about things that it pretty much made me tear up right there at work.
On Saturday the 23rd, while he was pruning the hedge out front, Eric spotted a scary-looking bubble in my passenger-seat tire. The tire place is closed on Sunday, so I kept the car grounded until first thing Monday morning. Turns out it was still under warranty, so they replaced it for the startling sum of $16.75. The following day, Tuesday, I spent $160 fedexing copies of my thesis to my committee, all the hell over the landmass. I slept heroically late the day after that, arriving at work at something unconscionable like 11 am; Gary (our CEO) decided to close the office and shoo everyone out at 2, so work-wise the day was a wash. The following day, of course, that was American Thanksgiving, for which I drove up to Marti's place in Calistoga.
The guests included five terrific Stanford undergrads from a Native American specialty dorm: two Navajo (one of whom was Marti's distractingly gorgeous great-niece), one Blackfoot, one Lakota, and one Hawaiian. I didn't stay overnight; I helped load the dishwasher, sat quietly with Marti and had a little pie and coffee, and then left. The drive back felt long, but I got to cross the new span of the Bay Bridge.
Sunday was post-Thanksgiving lasagna at Alec's. His parents were there, as were several other people I was glad to see, including Ebony who's done with her own MFA and is back from Oregon. She and I talked nonstop and, if we can figure out a time when we can both make it, will go see Storefront Church next weekend.
The oddest day this past week was Tuesday. I drove home from work, opened the swing gate to what my distant interlocutor calls the "salvage-yard area," and, as I approached the gate, was astounded to hear Crosbie's footsteps as he ran up to greet me from behind. Somehow he'd managed to get outside my locked wrought-iron gate. His nose looked scraped and raw, and he was cold and scared. After we came inside I got him dinner and held him until he stopped shivering.
I have few ideas about what might have happened. It turned out that the smoke detector had been intermittently making monstrously irritating low-battery beeps. Crosbie really hates sharp sounds. (Many dogs hate deep rumbly sounds, but those don't bother him as much.) I think possibly the noise scared him to the point that he forced his way under the gate, which is secured by a chain and padlock at about 54 inches up.
I haven't seen Eric since then, so haven't been able to evaluate a different scenario. A few weeks ago, when the sheet-metal guy came by to install rain gutters, Eric mentioned that a city inspector would be coming around soonish. I asked him to let me know so I could work at home that day, but it's possible that he forgot, and that the following sequence of events occurred:
Until a year or so ago I did some roll playing (as in the pen and paper kind) in a with a small group. For various reasons, I stepped out of that group and haven't really thought about it very much since then. I'm at that point now where I think I'd like to do a bit more of it, though.
Not long ago, I tried a bit of a test-run of a scenario I came up with for a game in a world of my construction. Ultimately, I'm not sure I entirely liked the world, though I could potentially be tempted back into it.
That being said, over the past week, I had an idea for a world setting which I think would work well. I can immediately imagine some scenarios the characters would have to deal with and what they might have available to them to resolve their problems. It's a post apocalyptic world, far enough after the apocalypse that technology is returning and, at least the area it's set (South America) has a reasonably good quality of living.
The caveat, though, is that in the destruction of much of the world, the demons woke up from their nap. They battled it out using mortals as their pawns for decades after the war which lead to their awakening, but even that threat is long dead now. A few demons still stir, but they tend to not venture into the mortal world anymore.
There are those who worship them, though, and much of the power base of the new government is ultimately under the control of these secret orders. The city in which this is set is on the border of the territory of two such demons, their orders in a "quiet war," subtly working to take each other down.
I envision this not unlike the Shadowrun world where the players are playing characters of, at best, "questionable morality." It could work with them as freelance mercenaries, criminals who happen to fall into the grasps of one of these orders, or even active members of the orders or their front corporations. The characters would be basically human, though I'm still working out some aspects which would allow characters to be "not QUITE human" if they desire. There are certainly some very demonic creatures in this world, though if players wanted to get to that point, it would take a bit of time.
I'd like to find some people interested in playing in this world, probably starting up sometime after New Years. In an ideal world, this would contain people who could meet face to face in the Seattle area once a week, but I'd be willing to do it through some online forum (video chat, etc...) as well. I'm around half-way through writing up the world description and have figured out how to fit the mechanics of this world into an open mechanics system. (In fact, they fit fairly well...)
So, either online or in-person, would anyone be interested in giving this a shot next year?
More artwork and more plot details about what happened after the events of 'Serenity'.
"Goddard will write and direct the "Daredevil" first episode, setting the tone and look for the show, while also serving as series Showrunner and Executive Producer for the 13-episode series premiering on Netflix in 2015."
This episode will air next Tuesday.
Den of Geek have been doing a great series of lists about underappreciated films from 1990 onwards. The 2000 list gives some love to Titan A.E.. Joss Whedon and Ben Edlund were two of the screenwriters.
The book is a collection of essays "that showcase the series' complex vision of the future". Check out the table of contents for more information on the topics.
It's available for pre-order at Amazon.com.
My property is on a slope, so placing a wheelbarrow on the hill is a risky proposition. It often turns over. Level Legs stops this. I’ve used it for three months. Not only can it keep the wheelbarrow self-leveled on a 20-degree grade, I can also use it to tilt the barrow left or right by dropping one leg eight inches closer to the ground, making it easy to rake or shovel over the side. It’s easy to install — just remove the factory legs, and bolt Level Legs in their place.
-- Bob Ethridge
[This video on Amazon does a good job of showing how it works. - Mark Frauenfelder]
Prevent wheelbarrows from tipping
Available from Amazon
Both our former slayer and electro-thief are featured among Taylor Schilling, Lizzy Caplan, Malin Akerman and Anna Faris in Variety's Awards Roundtable interview with TV actresses.
TVLine has the news.
This feature is from Zap2it. Poweranks has a similar type of article.
The beautiful and talented actress turns 37 today.
Our former watcher/librarian makes Total Film's countdown of fifty terrible movies featuring great actors with the 2004 film "Fat Slags."
Fun poll over at SpoilerTV.
Long term success does not depend on which college you go to, or even if you do. (I speak as a college dropout.) However, for many people a college degree is highly desired. One way to get a degree is online. It can be cheaper (sometimes), and can be done remotely (sometimes), and can credit previous work and experience (sometimes). It can also be none of those. An online degree lies in the territory of scams and unscrupulous operators (as do some campus colleges) so you need some serious street-smarts to guide you. Of all the books, websites, and too-good-to-be-true tutorials I’ve seen, GetEducated is the only reliable source of information for online degrees today I’ve seen. Most online degree information printed in books is ancient and out of date, or tainted with profit by selling something, or frustratingly vague and unspecific.
GetEducated is constantly updated with the latest research, comparing actual costs, examining real credentials, and reading the fine print of what is offered for degrees online. And their advice and research is free on their website.
The one downside to the GetEducated is that the information is not well organized, scattered across the site in many webby articles with titles like “7 Ways You Can Save Thousands by Getting an Online College Degree.” The information is solid, but hard to locate and step through.
The editors of GetEducated run a forum and they promise to answer any legitimate question about online degrees brought up. It would be great it they’d assemble their knowledge into a cheap e-book.
In the meantime I’ve collected some of the more useful links below.
Surprise, surprise, the majority of the cheapest online colleges are non-profit, public institutions. The University of Wyoming, Colorado State University, Macon State College – these guys have been helping traditional residential students get educated since the 1870s.
These colleges offer online degrees on the cheap to all residents of the USA. You do NOT have to be a state “resident” to enjoy the low tuition and fees charged by online learning bachelor degree programs offered by state colleges in places like Wyoming, Georgia, Colorado, and Nebraska. In these states, where the cost of living remains low, the cost of a college degree likewise rings in well below the national average.
Two regionally accredited distance-learning colleges in the United States—Thomas Edison State College of New Jersey and Excelsior College of New York—operate primarily as assessment colleges. These two special colleges allow students to earn entire undergraduate degrees through credit for life and work experience options.
However, most learners who attend these two colleges also complete some formal college courses to earn their degrees.
Instead, surveys show just the opposite – online college costs might actually be higher than residential college costs. The cost of masters degrees, online MBAs especially, are often higher than the equivalent on-campus versions.
While consumers often consider the University of Phoenix to be the standard for delivering a low-cost, mass market, campus-free college experience —in short, the flagship example of a cheap online college — the exact opposite is factually true.
The University of Phoenix’s Online College of Business and Management offers one of the most expensive online bachelor degrees. Their $66,000 degree, well above the $44,000 average degree cost, actually puts them in the bottom 15% affordability-wise of all 150 regionally accredited online bachelors in business surveyed. As of 2011, consumers could get the same degree from the University of Wyoming Online for only $16,000.
If you have to have the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business’ (AACSB) stamp of approval on your MBA, The University of Louisiana Monroe offers the cheapest such MBA at a price tag of $8,990 for online students nationwide.
(More college accreditation trivia: the AACSB is considered the gold standard for business school accreditation. Academics equate this type of accreditation with a rigorous, traditional business school education. I won’t tell you that your MBA must have AACSB accreditation; I will tell you that many recruiters and Wall Street wing-tip types see AACSB accreditation as a platinum stamp of old school approval.)
Streaming live from Kevin Kelly’s house right now: the first Cool Tools Show and Tell meetup! A couple of dozen folks are demonstrating and talking about their favorite tools, and Kevin will show everyone his new book, Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities. Watch the live stream here or at the Google Plus event page.
I've mentioned to a few folks that I'm on a "diet" now, and that's kind-of true. It's not entirely true though, as loosing weight is not a goal of this "diet." I've dropped a few pounds, yes, and I'm happy about that, but that's not really the point.
What IS the point is to be healthy. If I can turn some fat into muscle and keep the same weight, I'll certainly be happy. On top of the diet, I'm a couple months into a semi-regular workout regime which certainly has helped as well. Some weeks tend to be heavily focused on cardio over at the nearby gym, others on weight routines in the machine in my living room. Still others are like last week, where I didn't "work out" per se, but spent quite a few of the evenings as well as days on the weekends/holidays tearing apart my bathroom and rebuilding the floor. In other words, I'm making sure to do something physically active at least 4 days a week, ideally all of them.
In terms of food, I'm trying to cut out sweet things, fast food, overly fatty foods, and the like. I'm cooking a lot more for myself in the evenings, usually simple things, though I'm starting to think more about more complex stuff, especially on weekends when I have more time. That's actually working well with the weight machine: I start a meal cooking then check on it between sets. I've got an indoor grill, so lots of my meals are basically grilled meats with a starch (potato, rice, etc) and some veggies (though too often I leave them out; something I need to fix still).
But when it all comes down, it's not about losing weight. It's about being healthy, and a scale won't tell me that. How I feel after an hour on the elliptical tells me how healthy I am, how I feel taking the stairs at work instead of the elevator, and that sort of thing. By that metric, I'm feeling pretty good after two months.
The film is one of its Top 10 Independent Movies of the year.
Lots of great handmade Firefly/Serenity items to be given away. Perfect for the holiday season!
Every women’s magazine in the world will tell you that you are probably wearing the wrong bra size. Of course, actually going to get fitted is awkward and inconvenient, and your results depend on the skill of the person fitting you. To deal with this problem, Jockey has released a new line of bras with an at-home fit kit. For $20, they mail you a special tape measure and a set of plastic cups in a cute bra washing bag. You get $20 off your first bra as well.
The band sizes are standard; their numbered cups, 1-10, seem to go from about an A cup to an F cup. They do combine smaller band sizes with larger cups, which is very helpful for those of us with small rib cages. They currently only come in black, white, and beige. The bras themselves are comfortable; they have good straps and molded foam cups that help keep everything in place. I’ve worn mine for four months and with daily use they still look good. (Bras’ lifetime varies, but with good care — i.e., hand wash, drip dry hung by bottom, not straps — my bras usually last 12-18 months. Eventually, the elastic wears out, or the underwire escapes. The jockey bras are not showing any signs of stretching yet.)
Most importantly, they have replaced the traditional thin metal underwire with a larger, plastic piece with a broad tip. No more ninja assassin underwire escaping your bra and poking you in the side! That alone is worth the price of admission.
The bras themselves are $60 each, which makes them about mid-range in price: more expensive than a bra from Walmart, less than a specialty bra. Jockey’s marketing for the line is a little overenthusiastic, but the product is solid. I highly recommend them for anyone who is a tough fit or hates traditional underwires.
-- Sylvia Richardson
Self publishing is a bit of a challenge. Amazon has taken charge of the container full of printed copies that landed in Tennessee last week. But as of today, they have still not released the books to customers. However, pre-orders continue to pile up. In fact, while Amazon will hopefully release the books this week — in plenty of time for Christmas — they have only 5,000 or so books on hand. Additional copies are being shipped from Hong Kong, but won’t make it by Christmas. So, short story, if you would like a copy for Christmas (and I really do think it makes a fantastic gift), you should pre-order now. I can’t guarantee how many books will be available later this month, but I can promise that any pre-orders now will be delivered before Christmas.
Here are what some folks who received advance copies have to say about the book:
“What a knockout! Book of the year!”
— Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons
“When this fabulous, amazing, unputdownable book arrived at my studio I immediately spent two and a half hours in it, and then the next morning passed another three-hour stint of ‘Wow — look at this! I could do that!’ This book is more exciting — in both what it actually offers and what kind of life it suggests — than anything I’ve read for a very long time. It’s an outstanding achievement in every sense — content, design, and quality.
— Brian Eno, musician, artist
“Flipping through Cool Tools is a completely different experience from reading the same material online. Long live dead trees!”
— David Pescovitz, Boing Boing
“If this doesn’t solve some large part of your Christmas shopping challenges, you need a different set of people to whom you give Christmas presents. The book itself (a real print 463-page glossy-stock oversizer) is great either for young people starting a home, or geezers who are in touch with their youth who might want to be shocked and reminded why so much of their take-control-of-your-own-life life is the way it is, or somebody who just could use a striking coffee-table conversation-starter/stopper. And then there are the hundreds and hundreds of amazing things — “tools” defined extremely widely and deeply as stuff that really works reviewed by people who’ve actually used them — to give you more gift ideas.”
— Joel Garreau, Washington Post, author of Edge City and Radical Evolution
“I don’t know an adjective large enough to do it justice.”
— Michael Litchfield, Fine Homebuilding
“I love it. A worthy successor to the Whole Earth Catalog.”
— Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography
“This is a roundup of over 1500 tool reviews with incredibly useful tips and how-tos covering just about everything you can imagine. On one page there will be a recommendation for a great truck (Toyota pickup) on another they’ll be tips on learning how to swim properly (it’s all about the stroke length). This is, without a doubt, my favorite book to come out in 2013.”
— Sal Cangeloso, Geek.com
“The Cool Tools book was sitting on the counter of the bar when an old boatbuilding friend stopped by and immediately became immersed in it. His exact words: “I GET this! There’s no buttons to press!”
— George Dyson, author of Turing’s Cathedral
“Best coffee table books = size of coffee table. Kudos for the beautiful Cool Tools collection.”
— Scott McCloud, cartoonist
“Right now, do not pass Go, do not collect $200… just grab a copy of Cool Tools: A Catalog of Possibilities. It’s 460+ full-color pages of ear-to-ear grinning, hours of ooh-ing and aah-ing, and years of repetitive page-turning. After it arrived at my door, I lost almost two full hours in its pages before realizing just how much time had elapsed… and this was me just skimming the various sections and randomly jumping from item to item. Since then, I’ve lost a few more hours as I’ve started to methodically tackle specific sections that are relevant to a few special projects that interest me (right now).”
— James Floyd Kelly, GeekDad
“Most catalogs are short stories. This one is a catalog novel.”
— Mark Pauline, Survival Research roboticist
“Covering topics from hand tools to adhesives, organizational oddments, bicycles that double as chainsaws, beer brewing, mushroom growing, milling and fabricating, and so much more, it’s enough to make your brain hurt with all the ideas for projects.”
— Michael Una, Inventables
“Bravo for this mega catalog. Back to the future!”
— Steven Leveen, CEO founder of Levenger’s
“I find myself not only flabbergasted at the size and extent of this achievement but happily awash in the feeling I used to get from the Whole Earth Catalogs; that all may not be right with the world, but that it could be.”
— Jim Woodring, illustrator and cartoonist
Today: $25 Cool Tools
Available from Amazon
There’s still time to start or join a Cool Tools Show & Tell Meetup in your town. But if you can’t make it for some reason, you are invited to watch the live video stream of the Show & Tell taking place at Kevin’s place tomorrow (December 4, 2013) at 7:30pm PT. We’ll post a streaming video here on Cool Tools, or you can visit the Google event page here and watch the video.
To learn more about the Cool Tools Show & Tell Meetup, read Kevin’s post about it here.
-- Mark Frauenfelder
It stars "Avengers: Age of Ultron" star James Spader and "Dollhouse"s Harry Lennix.
[ edited by Avengersfan on 2013-12-04 06:29 ]
You may have seen some tweets like these ones from the other day. Find out what happened in London last Sunday from someone who was there.
Vulture declared "If you were looking for a template for a top-tier Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episode, "Repairs" would be a good place to start." TVOvermind said it was "overall a phenomenal episode". Though Den of Geek thought it was "cod-Fringe territory". Digital Spy gave it 4 stars out of 5 and SFX 3. IGN gave it 7.2. The Escapist praised the first office romance. 411Mania said the episode "would've been perfect for Halloween". Paste said "it's nice to know that while the storylines might not take us by surprise, these characters still can". And the Guardian blogger concluded with "that final, shy smile was worth a million bucks".
Just in time for Gurnenthar's Ascendance.
(December 18, for those of you playing at home)
Doesn't look like we're getting the Bluray unfortunately.
Travelling from work to home, mostly. If you are on Face-ache you would know I was on Kooragang Island near Newcastle, for a week. Not as interesting as it sounds.
I've been travelling around the Richmond/Windsor area, taking photos I have yet to process: The Hawksbury River in smoke. The Hawksbury in rain. Sydney from the Blue Mountans. Thirlmere and the trains. Again.
I have been amusing myself playing Dwarf Fortress and Kerbal Space Program.
( Kerbals!Collapse )
I began suffering symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome earlier this year, and in my search for alternatives to my computer mouse, a friend recommended the Logitech Wireless Rechargeable Touchpad T650.
I was skeptical, because I’ve used laptop touchpads for years and always found them to be second-rate in terms of real usability — you know, good enough when you’re traveling, but not a real mouse replacement. I have also used trackballs and, even though they help relieved the pain in my arm, they are notoriously inaccurate as pointing devices and are pretty much useless (for me, anyway) when doing mouse-heavy graphic work like Photoshop.
But after three months of daily use, I am happy to report that the Logitech Touchpad has solved my carpal tunnel problem without decreasing my computer proficiency. It took only a short time to acclimate myself, and the 2- and 3-finger multi-touch capabilities are terrific, even with Windows 7. It is much more sensitive than the touchpads I’ve used on laptops, and more reliably so. It has a pleasant surface feel and provides easy cursor control. Plus it is much larger than a mouse trackpad, so one can be more accurate with it.
In addition to surface tap functions for right and left click, the front footpads of the device contain switches which act as left and right mouse buttons if you press down on the bottom left or bottom right corners of the pad.
I use my Touchpad T650 in combination with a laptop touchpad — I find that using my left hand for the left-click button on the laptop touchpad and dragging with my right index finger on the touchpad is faster and more accurate than using the Logitech touchpad alone and makes it as effective as a mouse when working in Photoshop and other GUI software. With a bit of patience and practice it has become a solid replacement for my mouse…and my arm feels much better.
The Touchpad T650 is wireless with a built-in rechargeable battery. I get a week to ten days of daily use before having to plug it into a USB port to recharge it.
Oh, and there’s a side benefit: when I carry the Logitech Touchpad with me, it is flat, as opposed to egg-shaped like a mouse, so it’s a lot easier to pack.
-- Curtis Long
Rechargeable Touchpad T650
Available from Amazon
No new SHIELD tonight. Boo. But here's twenty pictures to whet your appetite for next week's episode 'The Bridge'. Looks like it's going to be quite the event.
"I Robot, You Jane" from the first season of "Buffy" makes Mental Floss' list of eleven dated internet-related plots from the 1990s.
All Dark Horse digital comics, including Buffy and Angel & Faith, are 50% for one day only.
Use code DHDCYBER2013 at checkout.
Leo Sun at Daily Finance.com wrote, "Agents of SHIELD suffers from dated storytelling techniques that Whedon carries over from his previous shows".
Just as the title says, although they use the term "robot" loosely - androids and robots are both listed. A couple 'verse bots turn up.
Sadly they didn't list Lenore, Mr. Universe's love bot.
In the days leading up to the holidays, we are presenting a series of gift suggestions. Today: our favorite visual reference books. (Previous gift guide post: Low Cost Tools)
Art Forms in Nature, by Ernst Haeckel, is a library of possibilities. Artists, engineers, and natural scientists use this album for inspiration, since each of these bizarre forms is a living highly-evolved organism. $17
Russian Criminal Tattoo Encyclopaedia There are so many levels to these tattoos that they were officially collected and copied by the authors in order to decipher them. Each one is a small bomb of meaning; as visual source material you can’t have more power than these. $23
Secret Museum of Mankind It’s sort of a combination of early uncensored National Geographic and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. Reproduced without a known author, or copyright, or even authentication of the captions, it was for many years a “secret” underground publication. And for pure gawking pleasures it still can’t be beat. $25
Parallel Encyclopedia, by Batia Suter, is a fat encyclopedia of thousands of pictorial gems taken from old books. These old-timey results won’t show up on Google image search. Each page is a wonderful orthogonal view of our world –- Items are roughly grouped by category. It’s a constant source of amazement, kind of a visual curiosity cabinet. (Out of print, but copies are available on Amazon)
Natural Art Forms, by Karl Blossfeldt, is similar to Haeckel’s book, but primarily close ups of plants and seeds. There is an other-worldly aspect to these organic forms, in monumental black and white. A great inspiration for sculpture and 3D thinking. (Out of print, but copies are available on Amazon)
-- Cool Tools
Anyone who'd like to help out, this link is the place to be! :)
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