Archive for July, 2007


Google has become a software giant and the most popular search engine on the planet[1] by offering simplicity to connect with the nearly limitless content of the Internet[2]. When I joined Facebook, I thought they had the same policy. However, several broken promises and undeserved dollars later, Facebook has become an unruly mess of needless gadgets, money scams, and privacy concerns. I had hoped that it would remain simple: exclusive to universities and limited to profile pictures and contact information.

To some extent, I feel obligated to fix the mistakes Facebook has made. The first question I have to answer, though, is how to make a difference. I could:

  1. Host an Ohio State social networking site through OSU, maybe a student organization
  2. Start a Facebook-like site with less advertising and no scams
  3. Come up with a solution unlike anything anyone that exists

Somehow I’m inclined to look most closely at option #3. The idea of simplicity I mentioned at the beginning of this article gives me and idea, and I’d seriously like to consider a little more. If the ideal social networking site would be simply pictures and contact information, could this be accomplished by a client-side website? Better yet, maybe a free service could be utilized to have the same unintended effects as a social networking site. To add “friends,” a friend could send an email to an address TBD. Maybe even have the profile sent to that person in the body of the email. This could actually work really well with email: mass mail profile updates to all friends.

This email idea makes me think I should go back to the client-side social networking, maybe something similar to the Gmail Notifier. A website version would be nice for simplicity, but I’ll see what works well if I ever get to it. Ideally this could all be accomplished by changing settings without a typical Windows installer.

Categories: PC Software

Test IR remote controls with cell phone

While the infrared light emitted from a remote control is not visible to the human eye, it is easily seen by cameras such as those in cell phones. Below is an animation of what a remote control looks like on a cell phone when its buttons are pressed. The infrared light appears as very bright blue on a cell phone.

This method makes it very easy to test the batteries and functionality of a remote control. Simply open a cell phone’s camera view finder and see the results. As shown, the room does not need to be dark and no precautions are necessary. The light is very visible and apparent.

Categories: Electronics

Ohio State web hosting

I’ve looked around Ohio State before to find free web hosting to use as a student page and I didn’t find anything. Recently I think I’ve found that there are a couple ways to do what I’d like, but the better way, through the ECE web site, hasn’t been set up yet.

Method 1: actually has web hosting for students. The pages can be edited from the “Class List” section by finding your own name.

Method 2:
Use an ECE web site like these:<username>

Here’s the site on how to set this up:

Categories: PC Software

Bookmarklets / Favelets

Not everyone is aware of the useful effects of bookmarklets, so I’ll present this post just to provoke thought. Bookmarklets are javascript functions saved as links for use in the Links bar of Internet Explorer or Firefox. Here are some that I like:

  • Edit page – edit your browser’s display of a page temporarily
  • frmget – inputs are defined in URL to make pages linkable
  • Named Anchors – show page anchors visibly to facilitate linking

Look into bookmarklets to see that they can make lots of things easier.

Categories: PC Software

Calvin and Hobbes

I’ve been looking at Calvin and Hobbes stuff again, and here are some useful ways to keep a supply of comics.

Basic format of Calvin and Hobbes comics shown online:

RSS feed showing recent Calvin and Hobbes comics

The following is a little Javascript code I’ve put together to show the last 5 Calvin and Hobbes comics. I was disappointed I can’t display HTML in this blog easily, but here’s the code so it can be used somewhere else.

***********************************************// AUTHOR:, LLC// URL: Use the script,
just leave this message intact.// Download your FREE CGI/Perl Scripts
toaceDay!// (
)// ***********************************************
var aceDate=new
aceYear=aceDate.getYear()if (aceYear >
color=’000000′ face=’Arial’
color=’000000′ face=’Arial’ size=’2′>”+”<img
color=’000000′ face=’Arial’ size=’2′>”+”<img
color=’000000′ face=’Arial’ size=’2′>”+”<img
color=’000000′ face=’Arial’ size=’2′>”+”<img
five days of Calvin and

Also: Link to CalvinHobbes.html

Categories: PC Software

Spreadsheet GPA calculator

This is a spreadsheet to calculate a GPA. It can be useful to see what an expected or required GPA will be. The spreadsheet is most applicable to Ohio State students because it currently shows three quarters, since that is the yearly load of most students who take summers off. It’s just a matter of moving cells to make it work for semesters or to include summers for a school that’s on quarters like Ohio State.

Updated post: Calculate your current quarter GPA using a simpler spreadsheet:

Categories: Classes, PC Software

Water Purification

I don’t have much time to write tonight, but I’d still like to mention a topic of some projects I did this winter quarter at Ohio State. The need for water purification in the developing world was brought up in Professor Passino’s engineering ethics class at Ohio State and I presented information about the problem’s severity outside his class. See the link on my GooglePages site for information about it.

Categories: Innovation