Where to catch me at Burning Man!

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This is my last day at my desk until Labor Day: tomorrow, we’re driving to Burning Man to get our annual dirtrave fix! If you’re heading to the playa, here’s three places and times you can find me:

1. The Liminal Labs Couch Chat, Weds, 12 noon, at Camp Liminal Labs (8:15 and Center Camp). Liminal Labs is my camp (celebrating its 21st year!), and every year, we put on a public lecture. This year, I’m hosting Andrew “bunnie” Huang (previously) the legendary hardware hacker and entrepreneur whom EFF is representing in a lawsuit to overturn part of the DMCA to make it legal to bypass DRM.

Seating is always limited at these things (our living room is big, but it’s not that big!) so come by early!

2. Center Camp Speaker Series, Weds, 3PM, at Center Camp Cafe. I’m doing a solo talk on the Center Camp stage again, about Big Tech, competition, and corruption.

3. Palenque Norte at Camp Soft Landings, Fri, 1PM, 8:30 and E. I’ll be talking about “Surveillance Capitalism” and our “epistemological crisis,” and how we can choose to fix Big Tech, or the internet, but not both.

I hope you have an amazing burn — we always do! This year I’m taking a break from working in the cafe pulling shots in favor of my first-ever Greeter shift, which I’m really looking forward to.

While we’re on the subject, there’s still time to sign up for the Liminal Labs Assassination Game! Read the rest

Train for a career in data analytics with 90% off these courses

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The field of data analytics is growing as fast as the internet itself. Self-driving cars, airline pricing, and huge marketing campaigns are all driven by the insights that data scientists can distill out of vast sums of information. Even with the help of powerful software like Python, it’s a highly skilled position.

But those skills are attainable to mere mortals, and the Complete Data Science Certification Training Bundle is one good way to dive in.

In 85 hours of exercises and lectures, the course covers the software every data scientists needs: Languages like R and Python, software like Hadoop and Excel. But it’s more than just rote training in the interface. You’ll get a birds-eye view of the linear and logistic regression, forecasting and the other concepts underlying data analytics. By the time you’re done, you’ll have all the knowledge you need to tackle any database – and any job.

The Complete Data Science Certification Training Bundle is now available for $49, more than 90% off the original price. Read the rest

SHAG designed Enchanted Tiki Room mouse ears for Disneyland

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Look what SHAG whipped up (that’s a reference to the Dole Whip, btw) for Disneyland: Enchanted Tiki Room mouse ears. Since early July, Disney has been releasing a series of Mickey Mouse ear hats and Minnie Mouse ear headbands designed by notable celebrities, designers, and artists. Photos of the other designs and their release dates can be found on the Disney Parks Blog.

He writes:

I’ll be signing these and other exclusive Disney products at D23 on Saturday, August 24 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at Talent Central in the Anaheim Convention Center. These limited edition Enchanted Tiki Room Mouse Ears are part of Disney’s Designer Collection, featuring ear hats by Betsey Johnson, Vera Wang, Heidi Klum and other celebrity artists and designers. Mine are debuting at D23 and will be available at Disneyland and Disney World on August 28.

Skip through the images to see the back of the ears:

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I’ll be signing these and other exclusive Disney products at D23 on Saturday, August 24 from 2:00 to 3:30 pm at Talent Central in the Anaheim Convention Center. These limited edition Enchanted Tiki Room Mouse Ears are part of Disney’s Designer Collection, featuring ear hats by Betsey Johnson, Vera Wang, Heidi Klum and other celebrity artists and designers. Mine are debuting at D23 and will be available at Disneyland and Disney World on August 28. @disneyd23 #enchantedtikiears #enchantedtikiroomears #enchantedtikiroom #waltdisneysenchantedtikiroom

A post shared by Josh Agle (@theartistshag) on Aug 20, 2019 at 5:22pm PDT

As you’re probably aware, this is just one of the many groovy products he’s designed for them over the years. Read the rest

Wrap makes your Instant Pot look like R2-D2

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Everyone these days seems to have one of those fancy programmable pressure cookers known as the Instant Pot (IP). Now I’ve learned that people are decorating their IP’s stainless steel exterior with decorating decals and wraps. In fact, over on Etsy, there are whole shops dedicated to beautifying your IP. One shop, in particular, has a magnetic, easily-removable wrap that will make your IP look like R2-D2. If this is your jam, head over to InstantWraps to get one. They offer them in a variety of IP sizes with prices starting at $11.

(Technabob) Read the rest

How they make the gross sound effects for Mortal Kombat games

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When someone punches you so hard your brain flies out the orifices of your face, how exactly does that sound? Foley artists know how that sounds, and they use a variety of clever techniqes to generate the wet, crunchy, nasty noises required to gross out and entertain players.

If you twist a bell pepper in just the right way, it sounds like someone’s chest cavity being ripped open. A lot of non-gamers may not be aware that Mortal Kombat is still being produced. In the early 90s, the game was at the bleeding edge of realistic digitized violence, and the franchise was so controversial that Congress held hearings about it. Believe it or not, the series has only gotten more violent since then.

MK always had interesting sound design, right back to the original arcade game from 1992. Here’s the sound test, reeling off all the samples like a string of low-fidelity sausages:

Read the rest

The Miskatonic Papers – an experiential letterpress-printed book inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s work

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I’m a fan of Todd Thyberg’s design work and when he told me he had a kickstarter for a project with a H.P. Lovecraft theme, I asked him to describe the project for Boing Boing. Here’s what he wrote:

Are you a fan of horror, expeditionary adventures from the days of old, or the tactile sensation of letterpress printed goods? Then have I got a book for you! This one, live on Kickstarter right now, is Angel Bomb’s largest and most ambitious project to date!

The Miskatonic Papers is an experiential book; you don’t just read it, you explore and experience the mystery assembling it from various pieces. It’s like breaking open a time capsule and then trying to figure out what happened over 100 years ago. Composed of 50 printed pieces including letters, telegrams, drawings, newspaper clippings, a broadside, burned tatters of found stationery, and a journal which was written by hand and printed by letterpress. All of these items, letterpress printed, hand stamped, aged and weathered, comprise this Stygian work of unnameable horrors. You’ll even receive a cast resin fragment of the artifact that lies at the heart of the story; painted, aged and imbued with evil.

This is my fourth book, inspired by early 20th century author and creator of cosmic horror, H.P. Lovecraft. Growing up reading Lovecraft’s stories, I fell in love with his dark horror and esoteric language. His creepy New England settings and monsters from beyond the furthest reaches of space and time inspired this young teenager, eager for an escape from his small North Dakota town.

Read the rest

Great price on an Arduino starter kit

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This is the least expensive Arduino-clone starter kit I’ve seen. It’s just on Amazon, and comes with an Arduino Uno clone, a solderless breadboard, resistors, LEDs, jumper wires, pushbuttons, and a lot more.

If you need to learn how to use an Arduino, may I recommend my Skillshare video class? If you sign up here you can get 3 months of Skillshare videos for 99 cents. Skillshare has thousands of great videos to teach you about programming, art, animation and more. I’ve been a happy paying subscriber for years. Read the rest

A free/open tool for making XKCD-style “hand-drawn” charts

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Tim Qian, a “full stack developer and open source activist,” has published chart.xkcd, a free/open tool that lets you create interactive, “hand-drawn” charts in the style of XKCD comics. It’s pretty fabulous! (via Four Short Links)

const svg = document.querySelector(‘.line-chart’)

new chartXkcd.Line(svg, {
title: ‘Monthly income of an indie developer’,
xLabel: ‘Month’,
yLabel: ‘$ Dollors’,
data: {
labels:[‘1’, ‘2’, ‘3’, ‘4’, ‘5’, ‘6’,’7′, ‘8’, ‘9’, ’10’],
datasets: [{
label: ‘Plan’,
data: [30, 70, 200, 300, 500 ,800, 1500, 2900, 5000, 8000],
}, {
label: ‘Reality’,
data: [0, 1, 30, 70, 80, 100, 50, 80, 40, 150],

Read the rest

Yup. Obenauf’s Heavy Duty leather preservative is the way for me

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A little over a year ago I reviewed Obenauf’s. I just ordered another jar.

Baking in leather as the sun pounds down on you is kinda the motorcyclist thing. My jacket is a treasured article of clothing that, like Gregory House once observed “It keeps me warm and cool. How does it know?” Abusing that jacket is of par for course.

Good leather care stuff makes a jacket last and look wonderful!

Obenauf’s is also magic on my boots. The boots are expensive, like the jacket, and really take a beating. Shifting a 43-year-old BMW that was famously ‘chunk-y’ when new takes some force. Sliding my leather-clad feet underneath the horizontally opposed cylinders leaves a lot of marks. Obenauf’s doesn’t make them look new, it makes them look cared for and it deeps the damage to a minimum. I guess the boots slip more than gouge on all those fins when oiled and waxed up.

My favorite thing about Obenaufs is the speed at which the leather accepts it. Boots are wearable 15-30 minutes later, tho I’d give them an hour or two. Jackets need only sit overnight and they cease to leave a sticky, greasy mark wherever I lean. My old leather treatment needed a week or I felt like Squiggy.

Obenauf’s Heavy Duty LP Leather Conditioner Natural Oil Beeswax Formula via Amazon Read the rest

Tuesday Tunes: High, Wide & Handsome — Loudon Wainwright III

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I’ve been putting up with a heart murmur for a few decades now. It’s never been a big deal. During my last physical, however, my doctor took a renewed interest in what’s going on in my chest. I’ll be going in for a stress test on my ticker, in a little under a month. Since I got the news, I haven’t been able to get this song out of my head.

Honestly, there’s worse ear worms to suffer. Read the rest

Finding Pennywise the Clown in your backyard is serious business

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There are few things finer in life than plopping down on a hot summer day in your backyard, wobbly pop in hand, with a few friends and loved ones. Roasting in the heat as a soft breeze licks the sweat away from your skin, your beverage slides ice-cold down your throat. Someone tells a joke as the burgers flip on the grill, sending up a tower of greasy pillar of fire into the heavens.

And then, the existential dread kicks in.

From NewJersey.com:

Renee Jensen was enjoying the summer in her Harrington Park backyard on Saturday with her boyfriend, Alex, when she spotted something near the side gate.

The object appeared to be airborne, headed straight for the yard.

“Did a freaking bird die in midair or something?” she thought, going over to see what it was.

Looking down at the object, she jumped back.

It was Pennywise the clown. Albeit, a stout, cartoon version of the murderous clown from “It,” but Pennywise nonetheless. The plush character’s mouth was reddened with fake “blood.”

“It came at an angle and I just watched this thing, it didn’t hit a single tree and went straight over, just cleared the gate and hit the pine branches and hit the ground,” says Jensen, 42, still a bit shaken from the incident.

She only has one neighbor in the vicinity, and they were not around at the time little Pennywise entered the yard.

So, as one does, Jensen lost every last bit of her shit. Read the rest

Cat Selfie phone attachment rings a bell to get its attention

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Cats don’t care if you want to share their adorable face on Instagram. They look this way and that way, but never directly at your phone.

Enter the Cat Selfie, an attachment for the top of your phone made to get your cat’s attention. How? It has a little bell you ring to get your kitty to look at your phone’s camera, so you can snap that shot. Now the whole world will see how crazy-cute your kitty is! What did we do before this?

Available from UK novelty company Bubblegum Stuff (£11.95/~$14.50).

(Pee-wee Herman, Geekologie) Read the rest

Boost your marketing skills with training on Google Analytics and AdWords

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If you’re marketing on the web, your Google-fu needs to be strong – and up to date. Without a firm grasp on what drives traffic, you’ll never be able to take the wheel. That’s why even if you know where to put your keywords, a little extra effort goes a long way on any marketer’s resume. If you want a certification that proves your marketing savvy, a couple of online courses are key.

For data analytics, there’s Google Analytics Certification: Get Certified In 2 Days. This 2-hour boot camp targets all the insights covered in the exam: How to monitor ads, build reports and model the wealth of data that Analytics can give about any site. In all, the package includes 20 lectures and hundreds of practice questions. It’s available for $13.99.

For those looking to turn that customer data into clicks, the Ultimate Guide To Google AdWords is an essential course. Suitable for beginners, it teaches users how to build an AdWords account from scratch, then use it to optimize any marketing campaign by integrating keywords into company language across the board. Packed with 18 hours of content, the course is $12.99. Read the rest

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