Permaculture.

Over the past year I’ve become more consumed with the idea that everyone on Earth can agree on only three basic things: Clean air, clean water, and clean food. Everybody wants them. Everybody needs them. Sadly, the concept of a clean “environment” has become politicized and saturated with unnecessary baggage. This is the beginning of my exploration into Permaculture, a way of thinking about and designing the world in such a way that there is an abundance of those three essential parts of human life. Air. Water. Food.

Explaining Pi

One day my wife and I noticed our boy, 6 at the time, repeating something to himself while holding a dollar bill. Suddenly, he says, “I got it!” He then quoted back to us the serial number from the dollar bill without looking. That’s a random 10 digit number that muh boy decided to memorize without any instruction from us. Parental pride beamed forth.

dollar bill serial number

Since then I’ll occasionally give the boy’s hungry brain something to memorize. What better number to memorize than Pi? Pi is the circumference of a circle divided by its diameter. As far as I know its an infinite number. With the first 39 digits of pi (3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197) you can estimate the circumference of all possible circles within the observable universe within a margin of error about the size of a hydrogen atom. Pretty cool.

I set the boy to the task of memorizing as many digits of Pi as he could. He came to my office one day and got to work. I drew this symbol to explain what he was memorizing and we broke it down into chunks.

kid memorizes 14 digits of pi

By the end of our session he memorized the first 14 digits of Pi!

After a mathematician friend complemented what I’d drawn on the board to explain Pi, I decided to digitize the sketch…

pi = c / d

Now you can buy a shirt, and other products, with this symbol on it here: Click here to buy the shirt and other things I’ve designed

pi-definition-1-tshirts

Sketch Meditation Day 1 (WIP)

sunday-sketch-meditation-1-25-15

Starting a new sketching habit each day of whatever shapes or imagery feels good to my brain at the moment. This started while drawing with my kids at the kitchen table. I started feeling such a high from drawing simple things with them, that I’ve decided to try and make it a daily habit. Might turn some of these into vectors later and play with some ideas for art prints from them.

Anybody else keep a daily sketch journal or some kind of art meditation?

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

bitcoins-easy-buy-sell-mine

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 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.
  3. Setup a Miner: I installed Asteroid 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 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.

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.