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Freeway Collapse in Oakland, CA

Filed Under Fire, SF Bay Area | 2007-04-29, 13:54

MacArthur Maze Collapse, photo via SFGate
For those that haven’t heard yet, early Sunday morning (around 3:45am) a tanker truck carrying 8,600 gallons of gasoline crashed and exploded into flames (up to 200 feet tall) in what locals know as the MacArthur Maze. The heat from the resulting fire was so great that the on-ramp above the crash site melted and collapsed into what now looks like a Dali painting. Needless to say, this will have a significant impact to the traffic that flows out of San Francisco into the East Bay. Authorities are saying it’s even worse than the disruption from the collapse of the Bay Bridge in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Looks like a lot of us will be taking BART more often. Jason Schupp was kind enough to put together a Google Map showing where the damage took place.

More Coverage and Media:
CBS 5 (with video)
SFGate photos
Thomas Hawk’s photo from the morning after
SFist’s coverage including routes around the damage, aka take BART
Metroblogging SF also has some links
New York Times
Inside Bay Area

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Naked Paris Hilton Autopsy Sculpture

Filed Under Art, News | 2007-04-27, 17:32

Paris Hilton Naked Sculpture
Yeah, we knew we’d grab you with the “Naked Paris Hilton” headline. But unless you’re some sort of twisted coroner, this isn’t the kind of sculpture for you. A sculpture of a naked Paris Hilton, post autopsy and with “removable innards” is being used in a Public Service Announcement to deter prom-goers from drinking and driving. The sculpture, created by Daniel Edwards (yeah, the same guy that did Britney Spears giving birth), has an accompanying website, http://www.parishiltonautopsy.com/ (contains sculpted nudity), where students are encouraged to take the “virtual tour” of the making of the sculpture. Rumor has it that Paris commissioned Daniel Edwards to do a sculpture for her, no word on if this is what she was expecting. There’s also reports of the innards including a “double abortion” of fetal twins in her uterus. And yes, just like in real life, both her precious dog, Tinkerbell, and her cell phone are included in the sculpture.

via starpulse

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Google Concept Phone

Filed Under Gadgets & Hardware | 2007-04-27, 16:57

Some guys over at Dog Orgod (Chinese site) put together some concept renderings of what the Google Phone that doesn’t exist might look like. My Chinese is beyond rusty, so I’m not sure what the all the pieces are, but it looks slick. Just another bit of eye candy to fuel the Google phone dreams in all of our heads. Check them out:
Google Phone Concept

via Themes Central

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Stephen Hawking Experiences Weightlessness

Filed Under News, Video | 2007-04-27, 11:31

Stephen Hawking Weightless
Everyone’s favorite theoretical physicist got a chance to experience zero gravity yesterday. Stephen Hawking had a chance to escape his wheelchair and floated around a plane specially designed to provide the experience of weightlessness. Thanks to Virgin’s,, Richard Branson, it didn’t cost him a dime. The smile on his face describes it all.

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JS-Kit Easy Web 2.0 Widgets

Filed Under Tools, Websites | 2007-04-26, 21:10

jskitlogo.jpgSometimes you don’t really feel like sitting down and coding a lot in order to provide new functionality to your site. Or maybe you don’t even have the first clue about writing code to add comments, ratings, or polls to your website. That’s where JS-Kit comes into the picture. It’s painfully simple to include their widgets on your site. Can you copy and paste? Good, that’s about all you’ll need.

We heard about JS-Kit from TechCrunch in the post entitled, “JS-Kit: Web 2.0 For Lazy People”, a very apt headline for this small company. JS-Kit started out as a one-man shop, developing widgets that would easily plug into existing websites. Now they’ve got several employess and so far three free widgets available: Polls, Comments, and Ratings. Oh and we should mention that the Comments and Ratings can be tied together, so a user’s comment shows up next to their rating. You know all that fancy stuff you see on sites that have product ratings, and user polls, and elaborate comment systems? JS-Kit brings that to your site for free, and without requiring you to know any code.

I thought this would be excellent for our Sidekick 3 Themes site. I’ve wanted to put together a commenting and rating system for the site for several months now. I assume that it would get used, but JS-Kit is going to let me test that before I even write a line of code to implement my own system. All I had to do was make a few modifications and add a couple lines of text to some of the site. Now each sidekick theme has it’s own rating that’s tied to the theme as well as a place for people to leave comments. To see it in action, check out any theme, like this one.

Each widget is tied to the url that called it by default, but you can also specify a specific identifier through the path value. I made a lot of use of this so that I could have individual ratings for each of the almost 4000 themes on the site. There was a little bit of confusion in getting things just right. Each theme’s url looks like this: http://www.sk3themes.com/index.php?theme=11 because it’s a dynamic php site. Well it appears that JS-Kit’s widgets don’t like it when you use a url that has a ? in it for the path. Oh well, a little modifications and notes to make some changes to .htaccess files and I had it working without the ?. I also discovered that the div tags can be put anywhere, as long as the script tag was after all of them. Otherwise weird stuff happens.

The only downside I see to using the widgets from JS-Kit is the lack of control and stats. I can’t pull up stats and run reports on them like I would be able to do with my own system. In addition, I won’t be notified of comments unless I’ve commented on that theme. But like I said, this is a temporary solution to see if it’s worth sitting down and writing a rating and commenting system that ties in directly to the custom code.

If you’re looking for a quick and mind-numbingly easy way to add a few useful widgets to get user feedback on your site, JS-Kit is definitely the way to do it. Two thumbs up from me and I can’t wait for them to come out with some more widgets.

Check out JS-Kit and for more fun and useful APIs, check out Linux World’s Ten Web 2.0 APIs you can really use

Oh, you want to see the widgets in action?


24 Hours of Flickr

Filed Under Art, Photography | 2007-04-26, 19:36

There’s a new group over at Flickr, everyone’s favorite photo sharing site. The plan? To capture on day, 24 hours, in the life of the global Flickr community. On May 5th, 2007, they are asking everyone to grab their camera and document their day via photos. If you’ve got the ability to toss in the GPS info, or the time to map out the images, that’s even better! Only photos taken on May 5th are allowed, but you’ll have till the 21st for your lazy butt to get them uploaded.

The whole thing is going to be commemorated with a book to go along with the day. The book will be comprised of photos chosen from what promises to be thousands of photos that are submitted to the group. In addition, they’ll be using the photos to show at different events. Sounds like a fun time, and far less demanding than the 365 Days project.

More info over at the Flickr group

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Open Source Second Life

Filed Under Second Life | 2007-04-26, 12:10

Wow, Linden Labs is open sourcing the server code for Second Life so anyone can run the sim. Granted not many of us have the power to run this, but a company like Google or IBM could. But this means that one company won’t necessarily have control of the Second Life grid. I haven’t had time lately to log into Second Life and check it out, but I continue to think that it has great potential. (Just because I don’t own a TV, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a huge impact on society) As a fan of the vision of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, I would love to see this whole thing succeed. I think this is a great step in that direction.

via zdnet blogs

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Anil Dash has a bukkit!

Filed Under Funny | 2007-04-25, 22:49

When I heard that there was a print magazine dedicated to blogging and podcasting, my brain skipped a beat. What? Why in the world? How do they expect this to be financially successful? Don’t they know that bloggers are more comfortable online than with any other media? Jason Kottke expressed similar thoughts and proposed that a better name would be Post & Permalink (like Field & Stream). As always on the Internet, it wasn’t long before someone delivered.

found via laughing squid

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Buy Your Friend A Drink

Filed Under Websites | 2007-04-25, 18:41

Buy Your Friend a Drink

Ahh the currency of many a friendly exchange, the “drink”. Usually this token is only redeemable when the people involved are at the same bar, until now that is. Prompted by the desire to buy friends a drink even though the lived several states away, Steven Cohn setup the site BuyYourFriendADrink.com. Right now it’s limited to New York and New Jersey, but there are plans to expand of course.

How does it work?
You pull up the site and buy a “drink” by specifying the amount of money to send to your friend.
An email (and text message) containing your text and a drink code is sent to the intended friend.
Your friend takes the code to one of the participating bars and redeems it for a drink.

Sounds pretty simple, as long as the bars are in on the whole thing. What I would like to see though, is a way to do this remotely. Say I’m at a bar in San Francisco, you’re at a bar in New York. We’re both out twittering and I see that you’re out celebrating a birthday or something. I send a text message to BYFAD with “buy friends phone# bar name $5″ in order to buy him a drink. He gets a text message saying “Your friend just bought you a drink, here’s your code” and goes up to the bar (which was sent a copy of the message) to claim his drink. What do you think Steven?

found via geeksugar


RIP Dodgeball?

Filed Under Websites | 2007-04-25, 14:21

With the departure of the Dodgeball founders, and no indication that Google wants to improve it for months, it looks like curtains for Dodgeball are imminent. Dodgeball.com is currently returning a Google 502 Server Error. Generally a 502 error indicates too much traffic or server overload. We find it hard to believe that the failing Dodgeball is encountering this. Even if there is something wrong with the site, will Google invest the resources to fix it, or is Google finally ready to pull the plug? How in the world am I going to let people know where I am?!? It’s a good thing we’ve still got twitter.

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