Back From The Brink

My site was hacked about a week ago and I’ve finally gotten things back in somewhat working order – with some chewing gum and paperclips holding things together.

It appears that my WordPress install was hacked through a vulnerability in the TimThumb plug ins I had installed into WordPress.

Now that my site is back from the brink, I guess the only reasonable thing to do is take this opportunity to re-set my site and re-design it. So in the coming weeks, things may be a bit funky here while I work through how to clean up the site and make some very much needed upgrades to how the site works in normal browsers as well as all other forms of devices out there.

Starkey House, Location: Duluth MN, Architect: Marcel Breuer

Syracuse U To Digitize Marcel Breuer Archives

Breuer’s Starkey House, Duluth, MN

In late March, my alma mater Syracuse University will be releasing the digitized archives of Marcel Breuer’s 30,000 drawings, photographs, and other materials from the early stages of his illustrious architecture and design career (at…but the site is not up yet).

Breuer achieved remarkable success as a student in the furniture workshop of the Bauhaus, leading Walter Gropius to offer him a faculty position in 1925. That same year, he earned widespread critical acclaim for his tubular steel “Wassily” chair, which incorporated the radical simplicity of form and interest in industrial materials often espoused by the Bauhaus. Breuer helped to redefine post-war American domestic architecture through projects like the “bi-nuclear” house and the demonstration house in the garden of New York’s Museum of Modern Art (1949). He designed some 60 private residences by the mid-1950s, all of which are represented in the Marcel Breuer Digital Archive.

I am not a huge fan of Bauhaus style, but Breuer’s impact on the world of design and architecture can not be denied. Similar to how Frank Lloyd Wright extended his designs into the interior of the building, Breuer did the same with his furniture designs. Some of the most distinctive and lasting furniture and chair designs were developed by Breuer. When you go to a Doctor’s offic, more times than not you will sit in one of his Ceska chairs. When I was younger, a friend and neighbor of mine had one of his Wassily Chairs in their house.

Also, next to Rem Koolaas, Walter Gropius (Breuer’s mentor) is one of the coolest architect’s name out there. :P

via Inside SU

Predictive Modeling

Target’s customer targeting is so spot on that it was able to determine that a girl in high school was pregnant before her dad did:

An angry man went into a Target outside of Minneapolis, demanding to talk to a manager: My daughter got this in the mail!” he said. “She’s still in high school, and you’re sending her coupons for baby clothes and cribs? Are you trying to encourage her to get pregnant?”

The manager didn’t have any idea what the man was talking about. He looked at the mailer. Sure enough, it was addressed to the man’s daughter and contained advertisements for maternity clothing, nursery furniture and pictures of smiling infants. The manager apologized and then called a few days later to apologize again.

On the phone, though, the father was somewhat abashed. “I had a talk with my daughter,” he said. “It turns out there’s been some activities in my house I haven’t been completely aware of. She’s due in August. I owe you an apology.

via Forbes


NASA Shuts Down Its Last Mainframe

NASA will be shutting down the last of its IBM Mainframe computers located at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL. The Mainframes used by NASA “back in the day” were large enough to fill a room, while today they are the size of a refrigerator. From NASA’s Linda Cureton:

In my first stint at NASA, I was at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center as a mainframe systems programmer when it was still cool. That IBM 360-95 was used to solve complex computational problems for space flight. Back then, I comfortably navigated the world of IBM 360 Assembler language and still remember the much-coveted “green card” that had all the pearls of information about machine code. Back then, real systems programmers did hexadecimal arithmetic – today, “there’s an app for it!”

There are no listed details on what will be replacing the Mainframes, probably because of security reasons.

via NASA.


Don’t Be A (Phantom) Menace

I went with my son to see Star Wars: The Phantom Menace yesterday on the big screen and in 3D.  And to no one’s surprise, the movie has not gotten any better with the new effects. Menace is easily the worst of the three “prequels” and wins by a nose over the whole Ewok thing from “Return of the Jedi”.

When movies are re-released with new bells and whistles, its always interesting to recollect about what people’s initial reaction was to the movie, to see if time has healed any wounds or opened new ones. With Menace, neither is the case. This release of Phantom Menace is, daresay, a little worse than the original because you have to watch the movie with the stupid 3D glasses on and cringe at the way a movie franchise that SHOULD have been built for 3D demonstrated no redeeming enhancements from the visual effect that felt like it was hacked into the master copy using iMovie.

As in 1999, the one element of awesomeness in this movie is Darth Maul. From an original review of Phantom Menace in 1999, this snippet from Eric Davis at sums his presence up:

Darth Maul was — and still is — the greatest thing about Episode I. He’s scary and menacing, and you’re frightened by him. The dude rocks a duel lightsaber, which totally kicked my world’s ass when I first witnessed the ferociously-paced fight scene between Maul, Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon — perhaps the film’s greatest sequence — and one of the best Star Wars lightsaber battles the series has to offer.

You are begging and pleading for more of him in this movie…maybe some “never before seen” fight sequences that look stunningly awesome in 3D…something, anything to expand his presence in the movie and make it worthy of the epic series it is part of. But alas, we are stuck with Nute Gunray and a Senatorial debate over taxes that apes those in this Galaxy.

I’ll just stick with the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back, thank you very much.

via Moviefone.


Times Square Photoshopped

I was listening to Leo Laporte’s iPad Today on his TWIT network and during the most recent episode (#82) of the show, he and Sarah Lane walked through MacWorld. One of the people they met up with was Bert Monroy, who is a prolific Photoshop artist. One of the pieces of art he did was the above featured Times Square, which is jaw dropping. The actual artwork is 5 feet high by 25 feet wide, its file size is 6.5 Gigabytes, it used over half a million Photoshop layers and it took over 4 years to complete!!



I downloaded this week’s copy of Sports Illustrated to my iPad (I also found a paper version of it in my mailbox too…very strange concept, this magazine thing.) and to my intense horror, saw that Tom Brady and my Patriots were gracing their cover. How could they?

For those of you uninitiated into the ways of sports superstition and Sports Illustrated, it is well documented that sports teams and athletes appearing on the cover of SI have subsequently suffered athletic failure and injury of all shapes and sizes. For those of you naysayers, read through the list on the Wikipedia page…its too frequent an occurrence to be a fluke.

And beyond the Wikipedia page, just take a look at the image above from my SI iPad app library. Four of the past six covers (including this week’s with the Pats on it) have featured NFL teams in the Playoffs. And what do you know…every NFL team featured on the cover (before this week) have been promptly dispatched from the playoffs – Tebow and the Broncos, Rodgers and the Packers, and Alex Smith and the 49ers.

My only hope that the Patriots don’t end up suffering this same indignity is that SI does the noble and right thing and put the Giants on next week’s cover which comes out ahead of the Super Bowl. Maybe having the Giants on the cover next week will “out-jinx” having the Patriots on the cover this week. I can only hope!

UPDATE 2.1.12: Well, it looks like SI has it out for the Patriots. Coming off of last week’s cover shot of Tom Brady, they went ahead and pulled a double doozy on the Patriots by putting owner Bob Kraft on its cover. That’s two weeks in a row of bad SI cover karma.

Lego In Space

A pair of teenagers in Toronto constructed a homemade weather balloon that they then released into the sky with a few Lego accessories – including a Lego Minifigure. After a bit over 90 minutes up at an altitude of around 80,000 feet, their balloon came back to earth but not after taking several photos of the Lego

Via Make Magazine.