I just came across this product via an Instagram post, and I just had to share it. I just can’t stop laughing about it.
It’s a bike that’s designed for exercise. Specifically high-cardio workouts. But instead of just making a normal bike that people can read, they’ve taken out the seat and pedals, and put a treadmill in the middle! So it’s not an “electric walking bike” like they claim, it’s a treadmill scooter. Which now I think about it, is no better than just walking!
Who even comes up with these ideas?
After some research, I discovered that YouTube offers a privacy-enhanced way of embedding videos. Instead of linking to youtube.com, link to youtube-nocookie.com, and no data-collecting HTTP cookie will be sent. This is Google’s way of providing GDPR-compliant YouTube videos.
(via Daring Fireball)
I was completely unaware that this GDPR-compliant version of YouTube embeds were available. But, seeing as it makes no sense to use the standard embed when this one exists, I’ve made changes to my site so all YouTube embeds will automatically use the
Just in case this helps anyone else add this to their blog, RavanH posted a code snippet on the WordPress.org forums to make WordPress shortcodes automatically convert YouTube embeds.
Okay, so I was bored today, and that led to me building a website. Specifically one that lets you find random images that are hosted on Prnt.sc.
Basically, there’s a screenshot utility called Lightshot, and it has the option to upload your images to the web. is a screenshot utility that allows you to quickly customise screenshots, and upload them to the internet. These images can be found on a website called Prnt.sc, and they’re publicly available.
In fact, all you need in order to find an image on Prnt.sc is a 6-digit alphanumeric identifier. Which is easily generated.
This afternoon I was playing around with random combinations, trying to find anything amusing. But I’m a lazy person, so I try to make any manual process easier.
My first idea was to somehow built a simple website that could actually find images from Prnt.sc, and display them inline. However, due to cross-origin resource sharing, it seemed way to complex for a fun afternoon project. So I settled on simply generating random identifiers, and opening a them in new tabs.
The website is now live, and you can view it at chrishannah.me/prntsc. And it comes, as I mention in the footer of the page, “built with minimal style”.
I’m not sure what type of aesthetic this is, but it always reminds me of the purities of the web. I much prefer a website that has well structured HTML, and little to no CSS. I mean, I didn’t even add any styles to links, and it still looks good!
Sometimes I want to just change my blog completely to a static site, with a super basic design. But I’ll leave that to another day.
I haven’t had time to go through a lot of WWDC content just yet (I’m currently spending most of my time laying a new floor in my house), but I did install iOS 14 and macOS 11 to my devices essentially as soon as they were available. I’m really impressed with all the updates this year, and I’ll end up writing about the things I really enjoy. But for now, the feature I love the most is Back Tap.
It’s an accessibility feature at the moment, found in Settings → Accessibility → Touch → Back Tap. And it lets you assign actions to a double or triple-tap on the back of your iPhone. For example, you could double-tap the back of your iPhone to lock it, or you could take a screenshot. There are quite a lot of possibilities. There are currently 14 general actions, 7 accessibility actions, and 2 scroll gestures to choose from. That’s not including the fact that you can also choose a custom shortcut to run as an action.
What intrigues me is how it actually works. I imagine it’s detecting the shake, and not necessarily a “tap”. But it’s still interesting that a new feature was added that simply makes use of current hardware in a different way.
When I was trying to work out what actions I wanted to assign to my iPhone, I was trying to think of things I want to perform quickly, or without a delay.
The first was obvious, opening the camera. There are tons of times where I just want to quickly take a photo of something, usually, it’s my cat being weird, so that’s definitely going to be useful. There’s no standard open app action, but as you can run a Shortcut as an action, I made a simple one that just launches the camera app.
The second one took a bit more time to think of, but I settled on creating a tweet. This had to be a shortcut as well, but it was just as simple. One action that creates a new tweet in the Twitter app.
So I can double-tap the back of my phone to open the camera and triple-tap it to start writing a tweet. Who would have thought that would be possible with just a software update?
Although it’s currently hidden as an accessibility feature, I can imagine this being pretty popular. Certainly, enough for it to make its way to becoming a “real” feature.
Jonathan Hoefler, on the problem with panoramas when proofing fonts:
In years past, our proofs were full of pangrammatic foxes and lynxes and the rest, which made for some very merry reading. But invariably, I’d find myself staring down a lowercase J — and if I questioned the amount of space assigned to its left side, I’d set off in search of some confirmation in the proof. Each time, I’d be reminded that while pangrams delivered all kinds of jocks and japes and jutes and judges, even our prodigious list featured not a single word with a J in the middle. I also started to notice that Xs had an unusually strong affinity for Ys in pangrams, because pangrams make a sport of concision. Words like foxy and oxygen deliver real bang for your buck if you’re out to craft a compact sentence, but to the typeface designer noticing that the pair XY looks consistently wrong, none of these words will reveal which letter is at fault. I’d find myself rewriting the pangrams, popping in an occasional ‘doxology’ to see if the X was balanced between round letters, or ‘dynamo’ to review the Y between flat ones.
It’s an interesting problem, and one I can’t say I’ve ever thought about. But it makes sense that when proofing a font, you’d want to be able to capture a high majority of scenarios, not just a few good looking panoramas that probably aren’t similar to what a real sentence would look like.
However, Jonathan has come up with a proof that tackles things such as the spacing between different types of letters, how each letter looks at the start of a word, what double letters look like, and most likely more things that I won’t understand. Font proofing is certainly nothing I’ve considered before, but I always find it intriguing to see how people identify problems, and especially how they come up with a better solution.
I just come across a video by Jonathan Burdett, a YouTuber that predominately creates video essays on blockbuster films for his channel, Films&Stuff. In the video I watched, he talked about the original Jurassic Park movie and how it looks better than the sequels.
As you’d expect, it comes down to various factors. However, I found it curious as to why the sequels weren’t at the same level. I would think that the sequels would build on the skills learned from the first movie, but clearly there was something missing.
That’s not to say they all the sequels are bad. But, when I think about it, if I had to rank all 5 current films, there probably would be a downward trend. As a rough estimate, if I could give each film a score out of 10, this is what it would look like:
|The Lost World: Jurassic Park
|Jurassic Park III
|Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
I like all of them. But the first three are massively better than the Jurassic World films. I’m still holding out for Jurassic World: Dominion though. Because that looks like it’s going to explore a whole new perspective, not just the same idea of a dinosaur park being made, then turning out to be a bad idea.
Rosanna Xia, writing for the LA Times:
It was decades ago when Bruce Robison first looked through the plexiglass sphere of a submersible and spotted a most curious critter in the waters off Central California.
Nearly transparent and no larger than a fist, the squishy tadpole-like animal was surrounded by an enormous balloon of mucus about 3 feet wide. Robison could discern chambers intricately inflated within this sticky structure, speckled with particles of food and plant debris.
Robison spent years in the open ocean studying these gelatinous animals, which are too large and too fragile to bring back into a lab. Known as giant larvaceans, they inhabit seas across the world. Tens of thousands of them live just outside Robison’s office in Monterey Bay.
He and fellow researchers eventually learned that these creatures and their snot palaces play an outsize role in helping the ocean remove planet-warming carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — one more part of a vast and underappreciated system that makes the ocean an unsung hero of climate change.
There are some truly fascinating creatures in the ocean, and the giant larvacean is certainly one of those. Who would have thought that something so small could grow that big?
Watch the video by Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute to get a proper look at what the giant larvacean, Bathochordaeus, looks like.
Matt Birchler, introducing his new YouTube channel:
Today I’m excited to introduce my new YouTube channel, A Better Computer. This channel will be devoted to helping you make the computer in front of you, whether it be an iPhone, and iPad, or PC, better than it was before; we want to make it a better computer.
It’s not just another tech YouTube channel though, the idea is that the videos will be short, but highly produced, and have a very limited scope. For example, alongside the trailer for the channel, there are already three great videos to watch:
My favourite so far has to be the most recent one, about making tasks smaller in order to get more done. Since this is something I’ve been doing myself for a while, and I’ve always found it to be a very effective way to get big chunks of work done. Because for me personally, while I want to complete big tasks, the idea of them usually puts me off. But if I split the one big task into various small tasks that can be individually actioned, then it’s so much easier to make progress, and eventually complete it.
As you can tell, A Better Computer is going to be one great YouTube channel, so I definitely recommend subscribing.
I watched Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom today, seeing as it’s now on Netflix. After it finished, I immediately searched online to see if there were any sequels being planned, or if I’ve just missed a release entirely.
Well, of course, there is a sequel being planned for release in 2021, I just forgot about it. It’s Jurassic World: Dominion. So nothing I could watch right now.
But I did noticed something new on the Jurassic Park Wikipedia page. Last year, a short film was released called “Battle at Big Rock“.
It is a very short film. All together, including credits, it’s just over 10 minutes. However, I see it more as a glimpse into what we will expect to see in Dominion. Especially as it was directed by Colin Trevorrow, and written by Trevorrow and Emily Carmichael, and they are also the director and writers of Dominion.
The film is set after Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, and as you may remember, that ends with the dinosaurs ending up on the US mainland. Which is something that we’ll have to adjust to seeing, in future films1.
But for now, all we’ve got is Battle at Big Rock, and luckily it’s on YouTube:
I just came across a new speed test tool (via The Newsprint), and it’s certainly the most detailed and responsive one I’ve seen.
It’s made by CloudFlare, and has the simple name of Speed Test. You can find it at speed.cloudflare.com.
Unlike Speedtest.net, it loads instantly, and there’s no delay until your internet connection is tested. Which is something that always annoyed me when visiting Speedtest.net.
The speed or instantaneous testing aren’t the only benefits. It’s also packed full of data. Have a look at my screenshot below, to see the type of stuff you can test.
(You may worry that I’ve shared my location. Rest assured that this data isn’t even close to being accurate.)