May 23rd, 2006

today hannah and i have decided to launch our secret project:, an online service that lets you create custom flip-books from your home videos.

you can help us spread the word!

the idea comes from software i wrote a while ago. lots of people downloaded the software, but i am not sure how many people cut out the frames and stapled things together. this website is for people who want flip-books in a hurry, without having to work too hard.

20 years of taxation and spending in USA

March 23rd, 2006

20 years of taxation and spending in USA
Originally uploaded by knowuh.

I got started on this project this morning when I read this article by Thomas Sowell. It said something about how even though Ronald Reagan cut tax rates, he saw unprecedented tax revenues during his term. (It turns out that every president can also make the claim that they saw unprecedented tax revenue).

The exact quote from the article is:

One of the apparently invincible fallacies of our times is the belief that President Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts caused the federal budget deficits of the 1980s. In reality, the federal government collected more tax revenue in every year of the Reagan administration than had ever been collected in any year of any previous administration.

I was surprised to learn that:

  • Taxation and spending increases are constant over time, at least for the last 20 years.
  • There was a (small) federal deficit before Reagan.
  • Tax and Spending grows significantly faster than the population increases.

I plotted this myself with data from the US Dept. of the Census and historical tables from the Budget reports of the US government.

These numbers do not take into account inflation (because I am too lazy) - this could be a large factor, especially in data from the late 1970’s.

Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority

March 23rd, 2006

Americans fear athiests.

I suspected as much, and now a study at the University of Michigan (though with a tiny sample of 2000) confirms it. You can read about the study:
Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority.

According to the article only three percent of US citizens are atheists. Is this true?? holy macaroni. I was surprised to hear that they are considered minorities.

Here is a great quote:

… the study’s respondents associated atheism with an array of moral indiscretions ranging from criminal behavior to rampant materialism and cultural elitism.

Atheism elite? yeah, real hard to become a member of _that_ club. But seriously: do you believe that humans need some super-powerful entity to keep the peace? I think any cognizant person would recognize that it is in their best interest to be kind, generous, and honest. In _their_ best interest. Why? Because people crave the companionship of other people.

No one wants to hang out with a greedy lying bastard, who eats all the food. Those kind of people are naturally shunned and abandoned by their community, and thus, are really lonely. To have friends you just gotta be cool with other people, and not lie to them, steal from them, or harm them. Seems pretty obvious.

Oh wait, am I being culturally elite?

introducing flipbooker

January 11th, 2006

flipbooker icon

flipBooker is a free simple uitlitly for turning quick time movies into portable flip-books. select a movie file, adjust some settings, and print. you will have to spend some time cutting your frames out, but this utility should make everything else super simple.

for more information check out the shiny new software page.

A line in the Sand

December 13th, 2005

Millions of wasted man hours, Billions of dollars spent fixing the bugs in Internet Explorer, a product of the largest company in the world. It has me reeling.

I have not done much web work in a while, and things have changed a lot. So Lately I have been reading tutorials on Javascript and CSS. It is Amazing what these two things can do. However every tutorial or book that covers web design, expends between %25 -%50 of the text apologizing for the ugly hack workaround they devised in order to ‘trick’ Microsoft’s IE products so they do not choke on otherwise elegant code. No, I am not exaggerating.

How many man hours have been destroyed by Microsoft’s non-compliance with the W3 and other standards comities? They do not even publish the deviations of their implementation, but web designers have plumbed the depths of IE’s brokenness, reverse engineering their whako-funked up DOM, and crafted for themselves a kind of Rossetta Stone that translates the way Internet Explorer does things, compared to how the rest of the world does things. Every web designer in the world spends half their time fixing Microsoft’s product over and over. Imagine half of the salaries of the worlds web designers added together.

Its as if, a car company had designed a really wide car — wider than the hummer. The car is so wide that in order to accomodate it, towns demolished the sidewalks to make room for an extra slab of pavement, just incase any one wanted to drive this too-wide car. When the next model of the car is made, it has a cog-wheel on the right side, because the town where the car was manufactured had a special cog-rail to help the car go up mountains. Instead of prohibiting the mammoth cog-car from driving on their streets, town committees all over the country decided to graft cog-tracks onto the road. Town officials explained that lots of people drove cog-cars, and they would hate to turn people away.

Back when the web was a bit of a novelty, such hacking made some sense. After all, it was the wild wild west, and the web was mostly an entertainment delivery system completely fabricated by hacks. These days however, the web is an integral part of our infrastructure: It’s where we do business, where we learn, and how we communicate.

By devising sneaky workarounds in order to coerce Internet Explorer to behave like a web browser, designers are encouraging Microsoft to continue to produce a broken product. I can not say what Microsoft’s intentions are, but after all of these years, internet explorer simply does not work. They are a smart company with lots of very talented people working for them. It seems very unlikely that IE’s brokenness is some sort of oversight.

Instead of being accomplices in the demise of standards, designers must encourage reform from Microsoft. Rather than bending over backwards to display a website in its preferred format when viewed from Internet Explorer, we should display the plain unformatted text of the website, and redirect the user to a manifesto which explains that they are using a browser which is broken. The manifesto should suggest that Internet Explorer needs to be repaired, and that while they are waiting, they may use one of the many functional free alternatives. “You need a working web browser to view this site correctly.”- something like that.

It is irresponsible of the web community to keep this game going.