At work (www.redfin.com) we use Skype extensively, partly because the engineering team is split geographically (half in Seattle, half in San Francisco) and partly because it’s often quicker to shoot off a quick text message than to walk across the hall (yeah, we’re occasionally lazy like that). Anyhow, we keep one chat room called “Dev Chillout Chit Chat” which is probably my biggest source of geek memes and assorted pop culture. Here are a few items from the last week…
Big Ben Clock
Someone created a twitter page that gives you the time, on the hour, “bong” style (obviously automated somehow). That in itself is pretty funny, but the really impressive thing is that this guy has over 13,000 followers!! I’m wondering if these followers actually find it useful to be “bong”ed on the hour (as a way of keeping time?) or if they just think this is funny and have the time to waste.
IE 6 No More!
This is a website dedicated to getting people who are still using the old Internet Explorer version 6 browser to switch (either to a newer version of IE or to another browser). I haven’t done a ton of DHTML coding but I’ve heard a lot of web developers complain to no end about what a PITA it is to work with IE6 (e.g. you write code, it works beautifully in all other browsers, but on IE6 it just bombs). To achieve this goal, this consortium of websites has code that displays a fancy “please upgrade now” banner. By the way, this website is sponsored by Weebly, which seems like a great service for creating simple general-purpose websites (though I haven’t actually tried it yet).
This is a gag website who’s goal is to dispell the myths about IE6 being a bad browser and get everyone to switch to IE6. The two websites together have the feel of an election time referendum.
You plug this little USB dongle into your computer, then plug any regular phone into it, and start talking (conversations go over your internet connection). The device costs $40 which includes 1 year of free calls. Each additional year is $20. It’s certainly cheaper than Vonage, etc. It may not be as cheap as Skype but it has the benefit that you use a regular phone (much easier to explain to your grandmother, for example). I’ve been using it for a few days and it works pretty well. Voice quality is pretty good; you do hear minor clicks here and there, but nothing serious. I’ve heard they drop calls occasionally, but we haven’t hit this issue yet, and frankly for $20 a year I’m willing to call back occasionally.
Solid Potato Salad
I actually heard about this one from Pnina’s parents (and I posted it at work). This video starts “old time silly” and quickly becomes incredibly strange. I wonder if there are camera tricks or if it’s for real.
Apple released their new mouse, the world’s first multi-touch mouse. Instead of a scroll wheel you simply wipe your finger across the top to scroll. You can also do sideways scroll, zoom, and other fancy stuff. I picked up this mouse, not so much because I care about touch as much as the fact that the scroll wheel on our last apple mouse was totally busted – sometimes it scrolled, sometimes it just got stuck. Yes, I did try cleaning it, but eventually that didn’t help either. So now Pnina and I have this fancy new mouse. It looks great and it scrolls fine. Paying $70 is kind of a lot to fix a scrolling problem, but oh well.
Apple Magic Mouse – the new Apple mouse