Single Window Mode for Mac OS X

I’ve been using single window mode as recommended in this article. When you click on a window in the dock then all the other applications are hidden leaving the selected application as the only one displayed. Here is how to enable it from a console window:

defaults write single-app -bool true ; killall Dock

One recent benefit is that hidden apps go into “Nap mode” to save energy. Plus, it is just nice how the screen gets cleaned up. Using ⌘-TAB switches between apps but keeps previous apps on the screen much like the usual behavior. However, as soon as you click on an app in the dock then all the others are hidden.
I liked it 85% of the time but cutting and pasting between apps and apps displaying modal dialog windows frequently got lost and difficult to figure out what was going wrong. After about 6 months I’m disabling it:

defaults write single-app -bool false ; killall Dock

Graphene: (Latest) Miracle Material

NY Times has a gushing article about the wonders of grapheme:

  • graphene was discovered to be 200 times stronger than steel
  • so thin that a single ounce of it could cover 28 football fields
  • transparent
  • conductive
  • flexible
  • light: A cubic inch of the material could balance on one blade of grass
  • graphene could stretch by 20 percent while still remaining able to conduct electricity. Rubber stretches by 20%
  • graphene is inexpensive

Updating an AWS instance and wordpress multisite hostname

Just in case you haven’t heard about heartbleed or like comic strip explanation. Bruce Schneier has a good run down on how screwed we all are including this link to the logs of a possible exploit half a year ago.
So I figured I better update my server. First off, I’m using an AWS instance to host the web site. I’m both proud and embarrassed. The system has been up for 11 months.

$ uptime
 11:22:33 up 339 days,  9:34,  1 user,  load average: 0.14, 0.84, 0.84

Updating the software was fairly easy

sudo apt-get update {.sh}
sudo apt-get upgrade
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

But it pretty much required a reboot to make sure everything was using the new libraries.
After that was done my wordpress installation was using the wrong hostname. Here are the tables I updated. The id, blog_id and table name wp_options are somewhat specific to my installation.


Solar System to Scale

In line with an earlier post talking about the the scale of the solar system checkout if the moon were 1 pixel gives you a visceral feel for the size of the solar system.   I only made it out to Saturn.  It took a long, long time to scroll.
It makes you imagine how long an interplanetary trip would take.  There is a lot of nothing. It was so boring just scrolling for a few minutes. Just black. No air.
Traveling from Earth to Mars would take about seven months.  Earth is at 150M km; Mars is at 225M km.
Jupiter is a 13 month trip and is at the kilometer marker 750M. No rest stops.

Tech firms conspire to drive down wages

From How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages:

In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators.

The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Disney) are described in court papers obtained by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, and at times it reads like something lifted straight out of the robber baron era that produced those laws.

And don’t forget how H1B visa’s essentially limit immigrants ability to change jobs for a better salary and drive down non-immigrant wages with a lower salary employees. and

I just read about this new site that allows one to pass a single a single url and it’ll work across a bunch of players. Here’s an example:
Bastille – Pompeii
Along similar lines, I also like Can I Stream which searches for videos and provides links to services like Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, etc.

Solar System

Here is a table if you wanted to make a scale version of the solar system. It’s based on making the Earth a 1in sphere and then gives how far from the Sun each planet should be and how big of a ball to use for each planet.
This is from frink a programming language based on accurate representation of units. If you are into really nerding-out take a look at the unit data which describes lots of possible unit conversions.

Name Distance from Sun Diameter
Sun 9 feet, 1.3 in
Mercury 378 feet, 8.8 in 0.383 in
Venus 707 feet, 7.6 in 0.95 in
Earth 978 feet, 4.5 in 1.0 in
Mars 1490 feet, 8.8 in 0.533 in
Jupiter 5090 feet, 3.7 in 11.221 in
Saturn 1 miles, 4068 feet 9.46 in
Uranus 3 miles, 2936 feet 4.012 in
Neptune 5 miles, 3011 feet 3.887 in
Pluto 7 miles, 1715 feet 0.178 in

Scaled speed of light: 1.337 mph Using rdio and playlists

More on how to use Rdio


Playlists offer the ultimate flexibility — it’s the modern version of a mix-tape. You can make your own Duran Duran “Greatest Hits” album — it’s just called a playlist instead of an album. You can have as many songs on your playlist as you want: “My favorite 50 Duran Duran songs” or “My favorite 500 songs”.
Rdio playlists
A song can be on as many different playlists as needed.
I have a couple standard playlists. The one I listen to the most:

  • “Dark”: Whenever I find something new (or old) that I like a lot I put it here. I usually keep it around 20 songs. After I get tired of something I move it to one of the following playlists for old favorites.

When I run into an old favorite I’ll put it onto a playlist organized by decade. That’s because it tends to be a “objective” way for me to organize songs. The answer to “is this rock or alternative” seems to change day-to-day for me.

  • “60’s”
  • “70’s”
  • “80’s”
  • “90’s”
  • “naughts” (2000’s)
  • “10’s”

I have a few playlists for occasions:

  • “Pre-Dinner” for before a dinner party
  • “At Dinner” while eating
  • “Post Dinner” for some louder, funner music.
  • “Sunday Morning” some classical music

I have a playlist that I just dump stuff on to listen to later:

  • “Try This”

You can also just add music to your “Up Next” list. More about that later.
Then I have some silly project playlists:

  • “Sidereal Days” I was collecting songs from a book about the early days of Rock&Roll
  • “NYC” Songs about New York City.

Feel free to create playlists however you like to think about music. You are no longer bound by the constraints of the album.