Where’s My LED Bulb Mesh Network?

On the heels of the news this week that GE will wind down manufacturing CFL bulbs for the American market and focus on LEDs, I had a thought. LED bulbs replace a typical incandescent lamp (drawing 60W) with a low-power (around 10–12W, from the few I looked at) light source that often contains a microprocessor controller and wireless hardware. The more advanced models connect to an existing WiFi network to allow controlling their brightness and color from smartphone apps. Why don’t we take this as an opportunity to build mesh networking into homes bit by bit as old incandescent and…

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Protocol Relative URLs (and why not to use them)

Back in October 2010 (that long?!) I noticed a commit to Paul Irish’s (awesome) HTML5 Boilerplate project on GitHub that piqued my curiosity. I hadn’t really noticed the trick of linking to a resource in a protocol-independent manner before. So I drafted this post and then promptly forgot about publishing it. It’s still cool five years later—but not quite as cool, for reasons I’ll explain in a sec. For the longest time, I thought links had to have a protocol specified, no matter what. I thought that was why Google Analytics used a kind of ugly detection hack to check…

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It’s not a cap, but it is Comcapstic

Comcast, what are you on about? Apparently using more than 300 GB of broadband at home in a month is too much. Comcast is expanding the markets in which it’s “trialling” a 300 GB soft-cap past which users will be charged $10 per 50 GB of usage. And it’s telling customer service not to call it a “data cap”. Well, technically, it’s “not a cap”. The customer service training materials originally leaked via Reddit aren’t lying when they say, “We do not limit a customer’s use of the Internet in any way at or above 300 GB.” But there’s a…

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Blast from the Past: Offline Foursquare

This is a revamp of a post originally drafted in June 2011. The Foursquare universe has changed a lot since then, as have smartphones in general, but it was worth partially rewriting as a window into how things used to be. For a number of months after getting my first Android phone (), I spent a lot of time thinking about ways to check in on Foursquare without an internet connection. At the time, I used the phone on Wi-Fi only, for Internet things. I didn’t start on a service plan, because I had with a lot of accumulated airtime…

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Some Joy in Seesmic Ping Land

Wednesday, Seesmic sent all Ping.fm users an email with “important information”. Dated May 31 (Seesmic’s timezone is well ahead of mine), the letter included some basic information that we all pretty much knew. But one sentence actually made me happy: To further support development and upcoming features, we will offer Seesmic Ping as both a free and paid service. (emphasis added). Back in February, I wrote , a post expressing my dismay at the shutdown of Ping.fm and the apparent paid-only nature of Seesmic Ping. I begged the company to consider a “freemium” model and not make all users pay…

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My Google AdSense Account: Moved to Where It Belongs

Honestly, I’m no longer sure how it happened, but suffice it to say that a few years ago I did something stupid. No, no, it was nothing like that. I just applied for Google AdSense a few days before my actual 18th birthday. That, of course, netted me a declined application, because I was obviously still too young to participate in AdSense—but I wasn’t counting on it also killing my ability to reapply later. When I tried again to sign up for AdSense using my main Google Account, after I was old enough, I got nothing but errors. When I…

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Why I Will Not Use Seesmic, Ever

Update (06/01): Seesmic eventually killed the green bar overlay. They announced a time-frame (by the middle of June) for closing Ping.fm, and also confirmed that the new Ping service will have a free service level. I commend this outcome, . Update (03/03): This post garnered a response from a Seesmic employee, Yama, in the comments. From “figure out the best pricing model”, I gather that pricing remains undecided, so I maintain my hope for a HootSuite-like freemium model. I’m also glad to hear that the green bar will be reviewed for possible improvements. Thank you, Yama; if I have more…

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Leaky Websites

This is my second blog post assignment for my Journalism course. As with the first, reposted here because “why not”. The New York Times‘ “Bits” blog published an article last Tuesday that really opened my eyes. The Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School released data on what information is passed between certain popular websites. Long story short, logging in (or even trying and failing to log in) to a site can pass information about you to third parties. That information can be as innocuous (but still trackable) as a “unique identifier” generated by the site or as…

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Google Books and the Book Industry

I wrote this for my Journalism class at college, but figured I might as well share it here too. The New York Times ran a story Monday about a new lawsuit filed against HathiTrust, a partnership of universities and research libraries that maintains a digital book collection on its website. Plaintiffs in the suit include three major authors’ groups: the Authors Guild, the Australian Society of Authors, and the Québec Union of Writers. Eight individual authors are also party to the filing, among them Pat Cummings, Roxana Robinson, and T.J. Stiles. The objections raised in the suit center around the…

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Finally: Google Voice Export Feature Released (sort of)

It took quite a while—more than two years since —but Google Voice finally supports exporting! I’d love to think had something to do with the end product released yesterday, but I seriously doubt it. Sort of… Let’s just say, Google Takeout isn’t behaving very well. The test archive I created yesterday won’t download, and I’ve tried both Google Chrome 13 and Mozilla Firefox 3.6. The feature isn’t there yet, but I’m sure Google engineers are working on it. I’m still happy…as soon as they make it actually work.

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