January 29th, 2008
Posts categorized “Tools and Toys”.
July 2nd, 2007
The editors of the American Heritage dictionary recently compiled a list of “100 words they recommend every high school graduate should know.”
I always like to check out lists like this, and see how many of the entries I am already familiar with. The answer is, invariably, “nearly all of them.” Not because I have a stellar vocabulary, but because I cheat.
Not on purpose, of course. But, when performing this exercise, I’m always struck with “well that’s what I meant” syndrome. You know how it goes. You see the word, you say to yourself “that means X,” you check the definition, and when it turns out that it actually meant Y, you say, “ah, well, that’s I meant. And, jeeze, X and Y are practically the same thing … so, I’m going to give myself this one.” By the time I’m done, I have magnanimously “given” myself all of them, and have no idea how many I actually knew before I started.
So this time I tried something new: I wrote down my definitions first, and then compared them to the actual definitions afterwards. You can see the results in the comments.
If you’d like to do the same, here’s a little tool I wrote. First, select how many words from the American Heritage list you’d like to get tested on. (I wouldn’t recommend 100–that took me forever–but 23 is good.) You will then be given the opportunity to provide your definitions for each. You can then grade yourself, in comparison to the actual meanings. Lastly, the script will print out a final report, which you can then put
in the comments of this psot on your own site. (Apparently Movable Type strips tables from comments, so posting ‘em here ain’t gonna work after all.)
By providing your own definitions first, you should get a somewhat more accurate picture of how many of the words you could truly use correctly in a sentence. But if you just want to grade yourself without providing your own definitions first, you can do that instead. Whatever. We aim to please.
You can find my results here (but, if you intend to test yourself, don’t look until you have done so, as the definitions of the words appear on that page).
February 14th, 2007
… to throw together a last minute Oscar Pool.
January 27th, 2007
The 2007 Make-Yer-Own Oscar Pool Page is ready to go. A big thanks to everyone who helped test it out. And if anyone else notices further bugs or errors, be sure to drop me a line.
(Oh, and keep those cliches coming. Still haven’t decided what to do with them all, but I’ve been getting some great ones!)
February 3rd, 2006
April 27th, 2005
I want to drive a phenomenal amount of traffic to my site, but I don’t want to go through the bother of writing something funny or clever or thought provoking. So maybe I’ll try my hand at spawning a blogmeme instead.
These are my URL ABCs:
- A is for angel.net/~nic/slate.cgi – I love Slate. I hate ads. Nic Wolff’s filter = Slate – ads.
- B is for blogdex.net – I expect to see this post in the #3 slot tomorrow. Do your part.
- C is for catalog.kcls.org – The library rules.
- D is for defectiveyeti.com – Also rules: narcissism.
- E is for electrolicious.com – I met her! She’s nice!
- [The first rule prevents me from mentioning this site.]
- G is for google.com – Duh.
- H is for homestarrunner.com – “Homestarrunner dot net: it’s dot COM!”
- I is for ifilm.com/WMPPlaylist.asx?ifilmId=2667017&bandwidth=300 – Hahaha! I’d forgotten about this.
- J is for jayseae.cxliv.org/moderate – Re: this post
- L is for luger.se/uploads/imgArchive/hives%202004%2004.jpg – Is this the band “The Hives?” I have no idea.
- M is for mightygirl.net – Sorry Metafilter, you came in second. Internet crush > Internet addicition.
- N is for nicklewis.smartcampaigns.com/node/367 – Has CNN resorted to comment spam?
- O is for oliverwillis.com – The site that inspired the URL ABCs. I haven’t been to O.W.’s in ages, and when I typed ‘o’ into by location bar today I was surprised to see it as the first suggestion. That got me wondering about the rest of the alphabet.
- P is for pair.com – dy’s host.
- Q is for qwantz.com/fanart/11.gif – What I’ve learned: autosuggest provides the screwiest links for infrequently used letters.
- R is for rpg.net – I don’t play any RPGs, but I like reading about them. I don’t know if that increases or decreases my nerd quotient.
- S is for spamusement.com – I would renew my passport in a heartbeat if this place actually existed.
- T is for themorningnews.org – A++++ WOULD READ AGAIN!!!!
- U is for upn.com/shows/top_model/index.shtml – Holy shit, what an embarassment.
- V is for verba.chromogenic.net/archives/2005/01/cameramail.html – Wish I’d thought of this.
- W is for washingtonmonthly.com – Possibly my favorite political blog. Pretty much the only one I read these days, at any rate.
- X is for xenodochy.org/ex/thirteen.html – Research for my 12 /13 Man Illusion post.
- Y is for yousendit.com/blocked.aspx – Goddamnit, I wanted that file. Reseed, plz! Reeseeeed!
- Z is for zoggles.co.uk/asp/pixels.asp?section=30 – Buh? When did I go here?
How to find your URL ABCs: Type the letter ‘a’ into your location bar, copy the first URL that your browser autosuggests as a completion, and paste it into the corresponding field below. Repeat for letters ‘b’ through ‘z’. You may add a comments as well, but they are not required. You can skip a letter if you’d like, or you can supply a comment for a letter even if you omit its URLs (to explain that nothing came up for that particular letter, for instance). When you are done, click ‘Format My URL ABCs’ and this script will return the HTML code you can paste in the comments of the URL ABCs post , use on your own site, or print it out and enclose it with your next Kelly Osbourne fan letter. Whatever.
Note: This may only be an interesting exercise with Firefox or Mozilla, both of which offer autosuggestions in descending order of last accessed (the sorting algorithm may also take the frequency of access into account as well). I don’t know what IE does. If it just cough up URLS in alphabetic order — and, after a little experimentation with my rarely used copy of IE, I think this might be the case — then picking the first one off the top doesn’t really reveal much about you.
Update: I just realized that my spam filter — which automatically blocks comments that contain > 20 hyperlinks — has been preventing people from posting their ABCs in the comments. Sorry about that — the filter has been temporarily disabled.
February 18th, 2004
Okay, the 2004 Make-Yer-Own Oscar Pool Page is up and running. Sorry I got it out so soon before the awards this year, but, until yesterday, I didn’t realize they’d moved the ceremony all the way up to February.
If you find any bugs or have any suggestions, please let me know by email or in the comments to this post. Thanks.
February 11th, 2004
May 9th, 2003
The problem with journalism today is that it’s all so damned depressing: North Korea has nukes, the US has deficits, Harrison Ford is dating Calista Flockhart, and so on. Just skimming the Yahoo! News page is enough to induce an anxiety attack. If only there was some way to soften the blow …
Well now there is! Just enter your email address below*, select the news story you wish to read, and the defective yeti Momalizer will put it into the most comforting format possible: a friendly email from your dear old mom.
* You email address will not be used for evil ** . If fact, it’s not even stored anywhere.
** For real.