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Idea: Data Visualizations form text documents

Product / Service: Infobot

Concept: Data Visualizations from text documents

Create data visualizations from idea documents, or any text documents, by using some kind of smart word association / context detector to automatically detect what different chunks are about. Come up with a simple syntax/format that a user could follow while writing that would result in more robust visualizations.

http://blogs.princeton.edu/etc/2012/08/16/see-text-in-whole-new-waytext-visualization-tools/

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The easiest way to start buying, selling, and mining Bitcoins

Despite all the negative news around bitcoin, I believe cryptocurrencies are the future. Bitcoin may not be the one to take off, but one of them will eventually.

Here’s how I started earning bitcoins.

  1. Create a Wallet: I setup a digital “wallet” with Coinbase where you can save the bitcoins you’ve mined, or just buy and sell bitcoins directly with Coinbase. You’ll need the wallet “address” to spend your bitcoins elsewhere and receive bitcoins from others. You’ll also need that address to get into mining bitcoins, which is what steps 2 & 3 are about.
  2. Join a Mining Pool and setup a Worker: I joined the BTCGuild (no longer a thing) to increase my chances of earning bitcoins. Otherwise you’ll mine for months and may not ever receive bitcoins. In a pool you’re joining forces with lots of other miners and are rewarded based on how much processing power your computer contributes to the pool’s efforts. You get smaller increments of coins, but you get compensated more consistently. These days I’d try something like the  Bitcoin.com Pool or Slush Pool
  3. Setup a Miner: I installed Asteroid (no longer a thing, try this instead Mac Miner) on my Mac Pro to start mining bitcoins. Asteroid will ask you or the name of the Worker you setup in step 2. After following a few more instructions your mining bitcoins. My computer is a beast, but its easily brought to its knees when I have the miner running. Asteroid let’s you throttle the mining intensity so you don’t crash your computer, but be careful. If you choose to allow Asteroid to use your graphics card for mining, it may appear to freeze your computer. There are lots of devices you can buy specifically for mining that are faster than your desktop or laptop.

Each of those 3 steps takes about 5 minutes or so, but may take longer to really understand what each step is about.

*Website Developer Bonus

  • TidBit – Earn bitcoins by letting your visitor’s computer mine bitcoins for you while they visit your site.  This will be the end of website display ads when the finish beta testing. [No longer a thing]

Results

After about a week worth of letting my computer mine for hours everyday if earned about 0.00001497 BTC, which converts to about 0.01293 USD (2014) according to this bitcoin to USD converter. So… with my current hardware setup it would take months to earn enough to buy anything. However, if I bought some fancy but inexpensive bitcoin mining hardware I mentioned earlier, I’d be earning at a much faster rate. Either way I’ll probably keep mining. I may even convert a few dollars into BTC. Given the state of the world, a multi-currency strategy couldn’t hurt. Like the saying goes, “Don’t throw all your babies in the egg water.” Or whatever. Let me know if you try it out. Happy mining.

Everyone is Changing Everything

V4 Heart Nebula

“You’re not just anyone. One day, you’re gonna have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, is gonna change the world.” – Jonathan Kent to young Clark Kent in Man of Steel

Inspired by this quote from the recent Superman film, I thought about my own internal philosophical and spiritual journey into manhood.

Savior Mode

When I was a boy I thought would change the world with determination and guidance from the omnipotent God. The world would be convinced of God’s love, believe Jesus, and change their lives for the better. We would all levitate into heaven and live happily ever after. Turns out I suck, people are crazy and life kicks you in the face every chance it gets.

The Questioning

After a few extremely disappointing events, I began doubting everything. I lost faith. I lost hope that anyone could change themselves, let alone someone else, a city, or a nation. What once seemed a clear battle between good and evil became random gray chaos. Every good seemed to have evil hidden at the other end. Every cause at the cost of another.

Then I began to think of how this crazy ball of dust and lightening got started. The classic questions made their rounds through my head. Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going?

Evolution? Fine.

But how did it all start? Energy, matter, time and consciousness explode into existence in the form of infinite multi-verses… from nothing… for no reason. My logical brain won’t let me believe that, let alone my emotional/religious beliefs.

Sanity

So either way you slice the mechanics of how the universe works, I’ve got God as the Creator. What is God? At the very least He is a being existing in a meta-layer above our reality/universe(s).  Aside from that He’s… um… large? I’m not really sure. The Original One, maybe? Love itself? I don’t know.

But I do know where I stand. I’m going with the Jesus’ Father/Holy Spirit God. I don’t have some new evidence for the existence of God, or a fuzzy anecdote that paints away the glaring solitude we face floating amid the stars. But I do have hope.

Now I believe more deeply than ever in the power and purpose of one-to-one human interaction, and the God who watches us all.

Time

All we can agree on is now. We’re all here. Right now. We exist. Together. Regardless of the galactic collisions bringing us to this moment, the moment is here. Unless you exist outside of the time/space continuum (i’m looking at you, deities and dead people).

There is no spoon.

Each moment we make decisions that impact everything in and around us. Those choices ripple through our relationships to the edges of the universe. We all have the power to build or destroy. Each look. Each word. Each touch. Each interaction with another human. Each moment we exist in this universe, we change it.

For better or worse, we change the world.

Alabama kids

We are Alabama Kids in a Ghetto 1980s on a Chevy Vega
Me and my friends in the 1980s on our Chevy Vega. We are Alabama kids.

 

Chasing fireflies through the summer night
Listening to the crickets lullaby
Laying on the roof of mommas car
Searching for one more shooting star

Running through the rain of a thunderstorm
Hiding from girls in our pillow fort
Shooting potato guns into the trees
Swimming in a flooded Creek

Sliding in the mud with bare feet
Exploring The Woods until “It’s time to eat!”
Cooking popcorn as a treat
Watching movies from 1953

Screaming “Roll Tide!” in the fall
Playing hours of backyard football
Fighting with the kid from down the street
Going to church 3 days a week

 

Idea: Landfill Mining

How to get into the market?

  • This article mentions the need for software to simulate what a landfill may contain.
  • Build that software
    • How to measure/estimate the potential profitability of a landfill:
      • Triangulation?
        1. Drill 3 deep holes around the perimeter of the landfill
        2. Install sensors to detect specific materials
        3. Triangulate the position of certain materials/objects
      • Ground Penetrating Radar (GPRS)
      • City’s/Landfill’s historical records

 

Potential opportunities:

Quick Tip: LESS Mixins for Pure CSS Pinterest / Masonry style grid layout

Pinterest popularized the masonry grid style layout. Here’s a simple solution for a masonry layout built with pure CSS3, and no javascript or floats.

[css]

// Parent Element, or Container
.grid (@columns: 3, @gap: 10px, @width: 100%) {
-moz-column-count: @columns;
-moz-column-gap: @gap;
-webkit-column-count: @columns;
-webkit-column-gap: @gap;
column-count: @columns;
column-gap: @gap;
width: @width;
}

// Child Element, or Tile
.grid-box (@margin-bottom: 20px) {
display: inline-block;
margin-bottom: @margin-bottom;
width: 100%;
}

// Example: Book Shelf concept
.book-shelf {
background: #fff;
.grid (3, 10px, 960px)
}
.book {
.grid-box (15px);
}

[/css]

Based on Radu’s Masonry CSS. Check out his post for info on browser compatibility and fallbacks.

My plugin gets added to WordPress core!

WordPress 3.5 was released yesterday. After upgrading my site, I checked the editor screen and noticed a tiny tweak that made me smile. It looks like my humble suggestion finally made it in to WordPress core.

Screen Shot 2012-12-11 at 11.59.41 PM

Notice the Add Media button… it’s an actual button! The previous version of the button looked like this:

The old Upload/Insert button or link

It was an easily overlooked text and icon combo labeled “Upload/Insert” . This caused problems for users as I’ve discussed beforeI don’t know if this small change to a more clickable and noticeable “Add Media” button happened because I suggested it, but I’m glad it’s there. So after suggesting this usability improvement to the WordPress core team, their developers took notice and made it happen.

WordPress-usability-improvement-ticket

Thanks, WP devs. Also, I didn’t suggest the name change, but good choice on the new wording from “Upload/Insert” to “Add Media”. Much better.