Matthew Yglesias and Dan Savage make the common sense argument that the best solution to declining social security contributors is not to cut social security payments (though means testing them would be an a-ok idea), but to increase the number of young, social security contributors by increasing the limit on foreign-folks becoming US citizens.
My buddy and all around champ Mark had a birthday last week. Originally I was going to take him to King Spa in Niles, IL for his birthday (from Yelp: “its like Medieval times meets sauna!”), but things happened and that plan is now delayed.
But the birthday wasn’t a total bust. Rap Master Maurice delivered Mark Johnson a special birthday rap (attached) which turned out great.
Rap Master Maurice website. No birthday, battle, or event will ever go un-rapped again. Mark was merely the first in an upcoming rap-a-lanch.
One of the projects I’m working on right now with AIS involves working with a lot of canvas data, image manipulation, and PDF generation.
In order to more easily pass image data back and forth from the client and server, I’ve been using DataURI encoding for images, instead of writing things out to disk and creating temporary URLs for them.
A problem came in when we needed to write the images out to PDF. The project isn’t non-commercial, which rules out the free version of PDFLib and the PHP PDF extension, and DOMPDF was turning out to be an insane memory hog, regularly using > 500MB of memory to generate a PDF. It was a problem.
A solution was to go back to simple-but-trusty FPDF. The class hasn’t been maintained in a few years though. I ended up writing a small patch for the most recent, 1.6 release to allow for embedding images from their DataURI encoding. I’ve attached it just incase it might be useful for anyone else looking to do the same. Its nothing tricky or fancy or that anyone else couldn’t put together themselves, but I’m adding it here a) as an archive for myself, and b) in case someone else is looking to save themselves some PHP typing.
Gestures and FireFox4 Beta has made other browsers unusable
I just by accident learned about three great things in the FireFox 4 beta on a recent (gesture tracking) mac.
Three finger swipe left goes back one page in the history
Three finger swipe up goes to the top of the current page
These both sound tiny and trivial, but they make using FireFox great, and make using other browser feel cumbersome in comparison (Chrome has the first but not the second, Safari has neither.) Its like trying to use a computer without Quicksilver / Google Quick Search Box after getting used to never having to browse for your applications, or using an Android phone after getting used to all the little UI tweaks of an iPhone.
I’ve been working helping cordblomquist move Marginal Revolution from TypePad to WordPress. The current part of this project involves moving the attachment (which are not included in the TypePad export data) from the old server to the new one.
To get around this gap in the export data I need to search over all the blog posts brought over from the old system, look to see if there are any <IMG> or <A> elements linking to images or PDFs, and if so, copy them over to their path equivalents on WordPress. Here is a long, scary looking regular expression I cobbled together to pull that information out of any blog posts. The RegEx is in PCRE format:
Like any author of any semi-long regular expressions, I’m sure I won’t have any idea what that means in 24 hours, so note to self, it returns sets of matches, named either ‘img_asset’ or ‘a_asset’, pointing to the remote file. In the case of the a_asset, which must be pointing to something ending in “.pdf”, the extension is not returned in the match, so you’ll need to add it back onto the string.
If anyone knows how to get the .pdf into the <a_asset> grouping above, please let me know. I have no idea if this is even possible, but it’d be cleaner. To make sure the case matches, I’ve added this match as the named <pdf_extension> grouping
“This is what Uptown is all about! You and your cat will love this one bedroom. New kitchen cabinets make sure your dishes rest in style. Heat is INCLUDED!”—Craigslist apartment ad. Geeze, this apartment sounds so grim they might as well advertise that the bathtub can double as a coffin.
In college I (mostly) thought pop music had to be danceable to be worth listening to. But I also though it had to be mathy and in non-4/4 signatures to be interesting (you know, to keep pace with the music conservatory folks).
These weren’t hard and fast rules, but there wasn’t much music that fell in both those categories. Off the top of my head the only songs I can think of are “Yawn, Yawn, Yawn" by Les Savy Fav, the last fourth of The Bad Plus’s version of "Heart of Glass" and this song, "Kool Killer" by Ex Models. I think they all stand up!
Fall Release #4080: Middle Mass (Live) from A Part Of America Therein, 1981
A good line:
When English boys get over to Europe, they think this is an exception but everywhere its like that and they can’t quite figure out why their welfare is twice their wages why they can’t speak their language why England is not quite as great, when you get over the sea mate
Its the middle mass!
Mark E. Smith says that this song (but not this recording of it) is what got them kicked off Rough Trade records. According to him, the label felt the lyrics weren’t sufficiently socialist.
My next non-project might be to blog each song off each of The Fall albums.
I disagree that This Nation’s Saving Grace is the best album by The Fall. If you don’t include its era-singles, which were not on the original album, its no where near as good as Grotesque (After the Gramme) or Perverted By Language or The Real New Fall Album (Formerly ‘Country On The Click’) or even The Marshall Suite. But it still is a great album (and the song “What You Need” is particularly great)
Tougher safety and efficacy standards may also be keeping good drugs out of the public’s hands. Most people agree that today’s FDA would not have approved aspirin; even penicillin, the miracle drug that helped dramatically extend the human lifespan when introduced in the early 1940s, is questionable. Allergic reactions to penicillin kill a higher percentage of its takers than Vioxx ever did, while the gastrointestinal bleeding produced by aspirin means it probably would have flunked while still in animal testing.
The stodgy FDA may be changing. Roger Longman, a former managing partner at Windhover, a health-care-analysis firm, says that while “the rank and file is sort of resistant” to streamlining its clinical-testing system, “there’s an interesting split at the FDA. At the top of the FDA, they’re not getting more conservative—in fact, I think that they’re going the other way.”
I’ve been listening to the new Strokes song repeatedly still and its been making me want to write some new songs. But since my guitar is back in Chicago, I’ve been listening to songs I wrote the last time I was really excited about The Strokes.
Here is a song I wrote a long time ago that I’m still really happy with. Especially the handclaps and the chorus guitar melody.
“For years, some particularly toxic types of waste, such as the sludge from oil refineries, have been destroyed with artificial lightning from electric plasma torches—devices that heat matter to a temperature higher than that of the sun’s surface.”—Interesting fact of the day (from The Economist – Turning garbage into gas)
“Meloxicam has been recommended to replace use of diclofenac, due to… toxicity in livestock eaten by vultures.”—Wikipedia article, when I looked up the painkiller the doctor prescribed for my recently fractured foot
Navigation and FAQ accordions are all the rave right now. People are going bonkers over them so I felt the need to write a post reminding everybody that the most important thing in a website is content. When a user visits your site, are they going to come back for the animated gifs or are they…
"you obviously understand that we don’t think in animated gifs" If you’re going to be quoting Nietzsche in your PHP posts, please provide the citation. Its only good internet etiquette. (in this case, from the third section of aphorisms in “Human, All too Human”)