Thursday, April 02, 2009

How to tell if your Windows computer is infected with Conficker

More info about the worm

Easy, non-invasive visual test to see what's up with your computer at a glance.

Mac and Linux computers are not in danger from this one.
Experts say it is the worst infection since the SQL Slammer. Estimates of the number of computers infected range from almost 9 million PCs to 15 million computers, however a conservative minimum estimate is more like 3 million which is more than enough to cause great harm.

Another anti-virus software vendor, Panda Security, reported that of the 2 million computers analyzed through ActiveScan, around 115,000 (6%) were infected with this malware.

Why you should care whether your computer has it or not:

* because nobody knows which bad things it will do to you, your networks, and the people you know

* because it could cause your computer to become part of a botnet, spamming everyone

* because infected computers could get locked out of internet access

* because in the past worms have exposed private information to bad guys who sell and exploit it for profit and fun

* because worms tend to open back doors to your computer, allowing bad guys in to steal your data or plant dangerous files on your computer

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Great free web design tutorials

Teach yourself what you need to know, for free, with these online lessons. They start at the beginning and take you where you want to go.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Surveillance Self-Defense

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created this Surveillance Self-Defense site to educate the American public about the law and technology of government surveillance in the United States, providing the information and tools necessary to evaluate the threat of surveillance and take appropriate steps to defend against it.

Surveillance Self-Defense (SSD) exists to answer two main questions: What can the government legally do to spy on your computer data and communications? And what can you legally do to protect yourself against such spying?

Even though this is a US-centric site, you are surfing US sites, maybe storing your email on one or more of them, your MySpace and Facebook, chats, and so on are crossing borders constantly. So this article is applicable to almost everyone, at least technically, if not legally.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

So you want to be a book author ...

Here's a website with lots of information about how to become an author from someone who's struggled and won. I'd start with the free PDF e-book. Like many successful authors, JA Konrath started out with 500 rejections. Sound familiar? Yep, like the kind of writing we're more familiar with, it's a time and persistence thing. So be not discouraged, be busy.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

10 privacy settings every Facebook user should know

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

12 tips for managing your information footprint

What can people find out about you online? How can you try to control it? This list is a good place to start. The article it links to, "What the Web knows about you," is excellent further reading.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Roadside electronic sign hacking

We've all wondered how it's done, and now we know.

via BoingBoing

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to remove data permanently from your hard drive

Most people I know have the opposite problem: their computer has somehow lost data and they had NO BACKUP. Don't let that happen to you. Hard drives are very cheap now, so maybe you can buy one just to use for backups. Also there are some online services that offer backup over the net for small annual fees. If you can't do either of those things, it pays to have a stack of blank CDs and DVDs, and every time you do significant work or add to your media collection, make a copy on disc. It wouldn't be the end of the world to have to reinstall your operating system, but it is a very sad day indeed when you lose all your photos, music, homework, and email. Hide the discs in case someone steals your comp.

But anyway, the article explains how to delete stuff you really want to never see again. Throwing it in the trash is not enough!

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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Electrabel candle stop-motion production

This is insane and yet so cool. I'm glad the people doing it got paid (it's an ad apparently).

Stop-motion animation is so wonderful to consume and so mind-boggling to create. Amber Case tweeted about this one (link above, just do it), which took weeks, but here's a cool claymation she did recently with a family member in one day.

Anyone with a digital camera, tripod, and some time can make stop-motion now by sequencing photos using almost any modern computer, so that's pretty exciting. It's just a really fast slide show, technically, like a cartoon.

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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Pixelator subvertising

Elegant, low-tech, visually pleasing solution to unwanted video advertising in public.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wade's Vagabond Journey

Wade is the best sort of wanderer: the kind who publish their photos, stories, and insights. He's got a blog where his 9 years of world travel (ongoing) are documented. He's going to Eastern Europe and the Middle East next, so give him a shout if you're over there. He writes good stuff about graffiti now and then too. Here's an interesting look at graffiti in Portugal with Odeith, Eskema, and Mr Dheo. And he tries to publish about 50 photos per day.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

HDR graffiti photos and HDR tutorial

I'm not sure how documentary it is, but HDR photos of graffiti sure are dramatic. The tutorial link is at the bottom of the page and it's aimed at typical cameras and hobby photographers.

Flickr has an HDR pool where you can see lots of interesting landscape and building HDR effects, also.

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Friday, December 12, 2008

Solving the Afghan poppy surplus problem

Here's someone thinking outside the box. What a great idea. Buy opium farmer direct and make medicine out of it. Much cheaper than bombing and occupying, plus the world needs the meds. Cut out the middle man and maybe your repressive theocracy goes away too.

Win, win, win.

Because the opium finances the repressive forces in Afghanistan, this problem needs to be tackled head-on in order to stop the war.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Making art *and* money

There are a lot of resources mentioned (and linked) in the article along with some inspiring success stories. Here's a taste:

Mr. Niles and Ms. Hellmuth have learned on their own what Elliot McGucken teaches in his course, Artist Entrepreneurs, which he developed at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a grant from the Kauffman Foundation. Mr. McGucken?s course, now taught at Pepperdine University, rests on the principle that those who create art should have the skills to own it, profit from it and protect it.

?It?s about how to make your passion your profession, your avocation your vocation, and to make this long-term sustainable,? he said.

Tristan Hummel, 22, a senior at the Art Institute of Chicago, said he wanted to help create a world where artists could do art as their primary practice and still make a living. Three years ago, after reading that Chicago?s El trains were available for rent, he got the idea to bring artists together to create an art show on wheels. This fall, his idea came to fruition with ?Art on Track,? an eight-train car on the orange line that traveled Chicago?s loop while displaying the work of more than 200 emerging artists.

[Photos ...]
Art schools, too, are starting to step in. At the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Fla., students can now major or minor in a program called ?The Business of Art and Design.? Larry Thompson, the school?s dean, said he was inspired to create the program when he read about Dan Pink?s book, ?A Whole New Mind,? which popularized the notion that artists, especially those who can marry left and right brain skills, the analytical and the creative, will be in high demand in the coming years.

?I am committed to destroying the myth of the starving artist,? Mr. Thompson said.

There are more art-related and creative jobs now than ever before, because of computers and the Web. Also, running your own arts or crafts business is much easier now, for the same reasons. It takes only some skill and samples to get started in many cases, so educating yourself is the place to start.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Bill Moyers speaks truth at National Conference for Media Reform

"... We're not alone and we know what we need to say. So let us all go tell it on the mountains and in the cities. From our websites and laptops, the street corners and coffeehouses, the delis and diners, the factory floors and the bookstores. On campus, at the mall, the synagogue, sanctuary and mosque, let's tell it where we can, when we can and while we still can.

Democracy only works when ordinary people claim it as their own." - Bill Moyers

Media matters. Media variety matters. Media ownership (and its ugly other side of purchasability) is what's wrong. Control of information always serves the state and not the people. When all people know is what they are told, it matters a lot how many people can speak.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Adobe Illustrator Tutorials - Smashing Magazine

Another free self-education opportunity for those with the software to play with.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

30 tutorials that will teach you Photoshop

Plus, they have Illustrator tutorials and soon Fireworks, InDesign, Dreamweaver, After Effects and Flash. And the tutorials are from other sites ... that also have tutorials! Best of all, it's all free and at your own pace. (Actually, the best part is that if you take the time to sharpen your digital design skills, you'll have very well-paid work in your future if you want it.)

Tip: Students and teachers get amazing educational discounts on software.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

Good, cheap, software classes online

Here's a good place to get some training on lots of software and online topics. For $25 you can have a month of access to the entire 30,000+ library of online tutorials, or you can buy them one at a time on CD, and so on. For less money than one college course costs, you can have a full year of access to their courses. Become the Flash expert you want to be, learn 3d software, get some solid HTML training, and get yourself a better, more fun job. Education costs a little but pays back a lot more.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

New Web development course - Free

The best thing about this is that it's put out by Opera so it's committed to the standards. If your site is built on standards, it just works for everyone. It's been a long time since some good courseware appeared, and this is new, so check it out.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008


"Zon is an unique interactive massively multiplayer online role playing game for learning Mandarin Chinese.

"By interacting in the Zon environment you will be exposed to Chinese language and cultural knowledge in a new and exciting way. Everything that you do in the game is another chance to learn new words, phrases and cultural info about China. Never before has learning Chinese been more fun.

"The nice part about Zon is it is all browser based. No client applications are required, so you can log in and play from school, work or home. Zon is a persistant environment, so when you log off, the world still keeps going.

"As you progress through the game, your character graduates from the tourist class, to a resident of Zon and then finally a citizen, where you can own businesses and create new content for the world. "

[The website is coy about pricing, but it seems to be free for a while anyway. It's in beta still. A university project of some kind. - Susan]

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Erik DeBat "Risk" - Chicago - Time-lapse mural

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Estria's skinny cap (stencil tip) tutorial [updated]

Correct info, from the site: "In 1986 Crayone TWS and Razor KTD first introduced Estria to the Skinny Cap. Razor was the first to conceive of it." (San Francisco Bay Area)

This type of detail cap has spread to Europe and beyond over the decades.

Here's the first public tutorial on home made skinny caps.

Be forewarned: Using these can be incredibly messy. You will get paint all over yourself until you get the hang of it. Wear gloves and trashed shoes. On the upside, you'll have plenty of loose paint for those nice splatter effects.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Copyright for artists, in a nutshell

I get a lot of questions about copyright. This blog article at explains the basics and links to the US gov site for copyright details and forms.

Copyrights are for individual expressions. Trademarks are for goods and corporate identity. Some copyright law is international and some is for your own country only. This info pertains to the US but might also apply somewhat to you if you live in another country.

Tip: If you are printing your name on products, you need a trademark also to protect against other people using your name or making counterfeits, but it's $$$$$ to do it, and you might need one trademark per country of interest. If you need a trademark, you probably need a trademark attorney, if only because they can do the big database searches for you.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

How to create your own viral videos on YouTube

Wired how-to wiki has the nitty gritty.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Story of Stuff

A quick and engaging overview about the state of the world, who profits from our destruction, and what we can do about it.

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Cool Tools

The brilliant Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools site has some great things on it. Recently I saw

Book on HDR photography
Motion Mountain Physics / Art book - free PDF download

He also has some interesting realtek on his Street Use site. Check out the painted trucks from Pakistan.

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Friday, January 18, 2008


Draw on the blank screen. Pretty!

Easy ways to save what's on your screen:

Windows: Hold down Alt and press printscreen. Open a Word or Paint window (or any word processor or image program). Press ctrl-V to paste the picture into the new window. Save!

Mac: Command-shift-3 (captures screen) (or Cmd-shift-4 to marquee your capture area). Picture file appears on your desktop.

More Mac screen capture tips:

Tip: you might have to reload the site after the capture.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

How to recognize and counter a bad argument

Learning to identify faulty reasoning will help you over and over in life as media and authority and politicians come at you with bogus arguments. This material was the most valuable stuff I learned in college. It looks boring on the surface but it's actually fascinating because it helps sort out the truth from the BS.

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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Berok - Barcelona, in action

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Mr Wiggles on the Art of Lettering

Tutorials, alphabets and more.

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Thursday, July 12, 2007

24-h Galerie

Outdoor aerosol gallery, with construction details, in German. (English version coming soon.)

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Jailhouse Lawyer's Manual 7th ed. - Columbia University

Hope you never need this, but it looks like a handy reference.

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fun things to do with stencils: print clothes

Diluted bleach in a spray bottle + your favorite stencils or interesting objects = custom clothing prints.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Make Internet TV

Useful tutorial on do it yourself internet video equipment and processes.


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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Color Guide

Compilation of color knowledge, tools, and resources that every designer needs.

-via digg

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Heroes, Guards, and Prisoners

Ordinary people become great, evil, and passive, depending on how they react to what's going on around them. This article explains how easy it is to fall into the prison mindset and how anyone can be a hero. This essential info will help you throughout life, so don't skip it.

Bystander's Dilemma - The Banality of Heroism, by Zeno Franco and Philip Zimbardo,

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Traffic Go Round

Hilarious guerilla sculpture by Mark Jenkins.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

Make your own books and photobooks

Kevin Kelly on Cooltools explains the best options for printing your own books online.

The service he suggests for image and photo books is

Blurb has a free downloadable
PDF file that teaches you how to make a book.

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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Ian's Shoelace Site

... because I know you care. Don't miss the More Lacing Photos link at the very bottom.

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Friday, July 14, 2006

How to present your portfolio to art directors

This is great advice no matter what your specialty and experience level may be.

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Saturday, July 08, 2006

How to be more creative

This cartoonist gives excellent advice to artists. His cartoons are great too.

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Monday, June 26, 2006

Painting water

Another great tip from


Monday, March 20, 2006

Lessons in making a difference

Kevin Kelly is one of the more effective
activists and world changers I know of. His buddy Stewart Brand is no slacker either. Danny Hillis and these guys are part of the Long Bets and Long Now Foundation, an interesting idea. Free downloadable seminars on topics no one else is discussing.

Kevin recommends these interesting programs that can maximize your donations while changing the lives of people directly in ways that they can turn around and help those around them. All of these programs benefit women and improve the lives of their families. gives animals and bees to people. funds microloans to village entrepreneurs. Trickle Up provides "conditional seed capital and business training essential to the launch of a small business. Trickle Up has started over 135,000 businesses in more than 120 countries. "

And while I'm worshipping heroes, here's to one of the most human of beings, John Perry Barlow. His words never fail to inspire even when they are about things we don't want to hear about. Today's discovery, on his blog where he speaks of his friend Spalding Grey's suicide:

".. Making public the intimately personal is a revolutionary act in an atomized society where many feel compelled to play so close to the chest that they can't read their own cards. Being emotionally naked before strangers extends to them a permission for self-revelation they badly need if they are to loosen the shackles of their own quiet desperations. It is a blow against the pursuit of loneliness."

"...But death has become wild and obscene in this country. Its power threatens our national religion of control. To die in America is to fail. It is an act of weakness. The dead could have beaten it had they been tough enough. And suicide, of course, is even worse, whatever the unendurable torments or neurological malfunctions that might drive one to it. Believe me, he tried some truly medieval procedures to penetrate his horror."

"Merely to speak of death in plain terms is considered by many to be disrespectful and offensive. This is a peculiarly American sickness which is, among other things, wrecking our health care system - over 70% of America's total medical expenditures are devoted to extending the last few miserable weeks of life. Our pathology about death abstracts us from it and renders us far too capable of inflicting it on others without remorse. And, worst, it allows us to dwell in a kind of numbness to life that we would not permit ourselves if we did not make ourselves numb to death. To be in denial about death is to be in denial about life."

"Groundless hope, like unconditional love, is the only kind worth having."


Sunday, February 12, 2006

Web Design From Scratch

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Saturday, January 07, 2006

50 Fun Things to do with your iPod

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