Link of the Week Archives
We launched a new site that will no doubt become the most important site on the Internet! mumblo.com is a domain name generator for our modern age, generating vaguely exotic-sounding names that are as much fun as jango, zimbra, dojo, hulu, and other popular monikers. The algorithm we use will generate new names on the fly, and if you get one you like you can check if that domain is available in one click.
- World Usability Day
The Usability Professionals Association is once again sponsoring their annual World Usability Day, founded in 2005 to ensure that services and products important to human life are easier to access and simpler to use. Each year over 200 events are organized in over 43 countries around the world to raise awareness for the general public, and train professionals in the tools and issues central to good usability research, development and practice.
- MacTech 2010 Conference
Fourth World's Richard Gaskin will be giving a talk on cross-platform application design at MacTech 2010. It's shaping up to be an excellent conference, and we're proud to be a part of it.
- Get Ubuntu
When making our Linux edition of WebMerge we use Ubuntu, the leading consumer Linux distribution. Ubuntu is free, will run on most PCs very gracefully, comes loaded with lots of applications, and you can run it from a CD to try it out before deciding to install. We've found it runs great on older PCs that can't run Windows 7, letting us use computers we might otherwise retire - at zero cost.
- Help the Victims of the Haiti Earthquake
From now through the end of February, Fourth World is donating 20% of proceeds from product sales to the American Red Cross relief effort in Haiti. If you'd like to donate directly you can do so here.
- Great Book: Online Shopping Through Consumers Eyes
Following the success of his first book, A Practical Guide to Affiliate Marketing, earlier this year Evgenii "Geno" Prussakov released Online Shopping Through Consumers Eyes, a data-driven approach to designing effective storefronts. Geno is the founder and president of AM Navigator LLC, an outsourced affiliate management company, and one of the most experienced and knowledgeable people in the field.
- WebMerge wins Product of the Year
The good folks at Affiliate Classroom have awarded WebMerge "Product of the Year for 2007". This is a great award from a well-established company offering training and support for affiliate marketers. Many thanks to the editors there, and to all of our customers who make WebMerge possible.
If you develop software with Revolution you'll want to check out revJournal, the web site of, for, and by developers using Revolution. Revolution is a rapid application development tool which offers some of the highest productivity of any tol in its class. Even if you don't yet use Revolution you may enjoy learning a bit about it at revJournal.
- Austin Becomes First City to Accept Energy Freedom Challenge
The Energy Freedom Challenge: America's Race to Independence Through Renewable Energy is a national competition aimed at reducing reliance on unstable, polluting energy sources. Launched in November 2005, the challenge will help accelerate homegrown clean energy technologies at the municipal level. Austin will be the first city to enter the contest, aiming to obtain more than half of its electricity from clean renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and bioenergy.
- Hurricane Victims Need Your Help
Hurrican Katrina has been devastating. Your help can make a difference in helping the people in Louisiana and Missippi left homeless by the storm. The American Red Cross has a convenient donation page which accepts all major credit cards. Your tax-deductible donation really can make a difference.
Fourth World is a proud sponsor of this year's RevCon West, a conference for developers using Revolution. Held June 17 and 18 in Monterey, RevCon West offer two jam-packed days of script-swapping, head-cramming, shmooze-laden, all-out fun. Whether you're a newbie or have some experience in Revolution and Transcript, or even a seriously experienced script-head, you'll find lots of useful information, tips, insights, and help at RevConWest.
- MacGathering in LA
May 13 through 15 brings this year's MacGathering to Hollywood for a weekend of exhibits and seminars open to the public. While targeted primarily for Mac users, this event is expected to attract a significant number of Windows users as well. Over 32 seminars will be presented, about half of which deal with cross-platform topics. Advance-purchase pricing ends May 1st. Tiger will be released on April 29; this will be a great place to learn about its new features.
- House-Building Robot
In a sunny laboratory at the University of Southern California, a robotically controlled nozzle squeezes a ribbon of concrete onto a wooden plank. Every two minutes and 14 seconds, the nozzle completes a circuit. Thus a five-foot-long wall risesa wall built without human intervention. "If you can build a wall, you can build a house," says Behrokh Khoshnevis, an engineering professor. If all goes as planned, Khoshnevis will use a larger, more advanced version of the device later this year to erect the first robotically constructed house in just one day.
- Oak Ridge National Labs Zero-Energy Houses
If ORNL's Jeff Christian could have his way, next-generation houses in East Tennessee would generate as much electricity as they consume. Such zero-energy homes, which eliminate electric bills by producing the power they need using solar panels, would be modeled after the four near-zero-energy Habitat for Humanity houses built in 2002-2004 near Lenoir City, Tennessee. "The average daily energy bill for these houses is less than a dollar, possibly as low as 65 cents, for the most efficient house over time," Christian says.
- Canadian Researcher Invents New Solar Cell
Researchers at the University of Toronto have invented a flexible plastic solar cell that is said to be five times more efficient than current methods in converting energy from the sun into electrical energy. The film can turn 30 percent of the sun's power into usable electrical energy -- a far better performance than the 6 percent gleaned from the best plastic solar cells now in use. Using flexible materials these could woven into fibers, and make something that's a wearable solar cell.
- Support South Asia Tsunami Relief Efforts
UNICEF USA is among the many organizations worldwide responding to the tsunami tragedy with food, medicine, and other critical essentials. Please consider making a donation for this urgent effort. The US office of the United Nations Children's fund offers a convenient secure form for your tax-deductible donation.
- Urban renewal, the wireless way
Salon.com has a great article this week on the recent trend of cities installing wi-fi - excerpt: "Call it the 'new new urbanism,' a fusion of telecommunications technology and urban design that is at once a 21st century zeitgeist and a familiar riff on the age-old interface between cities and technology. 'From an urban design perspective, a lot of technologists are just discovering public space,' says Dennis Frenchman, chairman of the master of city planning program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 'It's an old story that goes back hundreds of years.'"
- Euro Rev Conference
Richard Gaskin of Fourth World will join Kevin Miller, Malte Brill, Klaus Major, Frederic Rinaldi, Jan Schenkel, and others presenting at the European Revolution Conference. TechieTours' ERC will be in Valletta, Malta, November 14, 15, and 16.
- Bucky Postage Stamp
Fifty years ago, R. Buckminster Fuller obtained the patent for his most famous invention - the geodesic dome. On July 15 the U.S. Postal Service will issue a commemorative postage stamp honoring the legendary American inventor, architect, engineer, designer, geometrician, cartographer and philosopher. Celebrations of this recognition of one of the 20th century's most important thinkers are being held at locations from New York to San Diego. For a listing of events and more background on the commemorative stamp and the man himself, check out this link to the Buckminster Fuller Institute.
- WWDC 2004
Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference is coming to San Francisco June 28 through July 2. With seven tracks and more than 190 sessions planned, WWDC 2004 will be the most information-packed week of the year for Mac developers. It’s more than just technical sessions from Birds of a Feather meetings to the Apple Campus Bash, WWDC offers many opportunities to meet and mingle face-to-face with other attendees, industry luminaries, and Apple engineers.
- UNESCO Publishes Guide on Community Multimedia Centres
UNESCO has just released a handbook on Community Multimedia Centres entitled: “How To Get Started And Keep Going: A Guide to Community Multimedia Centres”. Written by reputed practitioners and researchers working on CMCs or ICT for development, it is available in hard copy and in PDF. The book is a practical tool intended to be of use to those involved in CMCs or other models of community media (information centers, multipurpose telecentres, community learning centers, etc.).
- Cleaner Electricity Can Save Consumers Billions
The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) recently released two new analyses showing that increased use of renewable energy sources, and improved automobile technology, could save consumers billions of dollars on sky-rocketing utility bills and high prices at the gas pump. Using a U.S. Dept. of Energy computer model, UCS found that consumers would save $26 billion-$11 billion in lower electricity bills and $15 billion in lower natural gas bills-by using more wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable resources.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Archives at Stanford University
The King Papers Project at Stanford University is a major research effort to assemble and disseminate historical information concerning Martin Luther King, Jr. and the social movements in which he participated. Initiated by the Atlanta-based King Center for Nonviolent Social Change , the King Papers Project is one of only a few large-scale research ventures focusing on an African American. Since 1985, the Project has been a cooperative venture of Stanford University, the King Center, and the King Estate.
- Revolution Seminar
FourthWorld's Richard Gaskin will be joining the other presenters at the first annual Runtime Revolution Developer Seminar, to be held during the MacWorld Expo in San Francisco on January 9 and 10. Richard will provide an introduction to extending the Revolution development environment through plugins, and will discuss opportunities and strategies in making Intetnet applications with Revolution. Other topics include interface design, software marketing, and more, with a party on Friday night.
- US Fund for UNICEF
Rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq puts the commitment of industral nations to the most serious test of our time. Successful transition to peaceful, stable democracies is a long process, one that will remain in jeopardy so long as basic needs are not met. The UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) was established after World War II to provide health care, clean water, improved nutrition, and education to millions of children around the world. The US UNICEF Web site provides current news about their relief efforts, and provides a convenient way to make donations as small as US$30.
- About the Finder...
John Siracusa's new article at Ars Technica articulates some of the weaknesses of Apple's OS X Finder expressed by many but not as clearly and consicely. More importantly Siracusa offers specific alternatives, drawing on both fundamental human-computer interaction principles and to some degree the history of the Finder itself. In light of the many positive changes that have been put in place as a direct result of pressure from developers, even if you love the current Finder you'll find these suggestions promising.
- World Summit on the Information Society
From the WSIS About page: "The global information society is evolving at breakneck speed....The modern world is undergoing a fundamental transformation as the industrial society that marked the 20th century rapidly gives way to the information society of the 21st century. .... We are indeed in the midst of a revolution, perhaps the greatest that humanity has ever experienced. To benefit the world community, the successful and continued growth of this new dynamic requires global discussion."
- Liquid Narrative
This is a cool, far-reaching project: the Liquid Narrative research group at NC State University is using AI techniques to explore ways of "helping people understand narratives and social context."
Project director Dr. R. Michael Young, assistant professor of computer science at NC State University, says, "My research has to do with putting AI behind the scenes of a computer game or a virtual world, so that the interaction inside that world is different, more engaging, more compelling than it would be without the behind-the-scenes tools."
This Australian company has ambitious plans for what Time Magazine calls "one of the best inventions of 2002": the world’s first large-scale solar thermal power station capable of generating enough electricity to supply 200,000 typical Australian homes. Using clean renewable solar power, the tower "will abate over 750,000 tons of greenhouse producing gases from entering the environment annually." The site includes a QuickTime animation illustrating the scope of the project.
- Eames Postcards
Eames Office, which maintain the archives and products of Charles and Ray Eames, now offers free online e-cards. A selection of ten images are available, including close-ups of their famous molded plywood chair, stills from their films, and a great photo of Charles and Ray hamming it up on a motorcycle during a photo shoot. The site also has extensive information on the Eames House, a storefront for ordering video copies of their films, and the tour dates for the Powers of Ten exhibit.
- World Factbook 2002
One of the Web's most valuable educational resources has been updated: The CIA World Factbook for 2002 was posted this month. The World Factbook contains a comprehensive overview of information about every nation on Earth, including geographic, economic, political, and demographic information, and has both national and regional map images. The Factbook is in the public domain and it may be copied freely without permission. It is available as HTML and PDF.
- DOE's Solar Decathlon
The Solar Decathlon is an international competition open to students enrolled in all postsecondary levels of education. From September 26 to October 6, 2002, on The National Mall in Washington, D.C., 14 student teams competed to capture, convert, store, and use enough solar energy to power our modern lifestyle. The solar decathletes were required to supply all the energy for an entire household, including a home-based business, along with the transportation needs of the household and business.
- The Eden Project
The Eden Project is an education and research facility housed primarily in a series of large geodesic "biomes" in Cornwall, England. Open to the public for tours, lectures, and cultural events, The Eden Project serves as a living laboratory explorng issues of biodiversity and sustainability. Each of the biome structures houses a nearly self-contained environment with flora and climate conditions reflecting a specific geographic region. A fascinating site that includes QTVR panoramas of the biomes.
- Open Source Car Design
Imagine saving the world by driving a stylish car. The Rocky Mountain Institute offers a concept car to do just that: Claiming to have proven its technical feasibility through rigorous modeling, RMI is now seeking ways to make Hypercar® technology a commercial reality. Their unconventional approach has been to place the concept in the public domain and share it conspicuously with some two dozen major car companies and new market entrants to maximize competition in capturing its market and manufacturing advantages.
- U.S. Returns to UNESCO
In a speech to the United Nations on 12 September, U. S. President G. W. Bush announced that after a 20-year departure from the U.N. Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, "America will participate fully in its mission to advance human rights and tolerance and learning."
"I look forward to the possibility of closer collaboration with the enormous intellectual and cultural resources of the American academic and scientific communities, and fuller contact with the extraordinary cultural diversity that characterizes American life."
- Koïchiro Matsuura
- International Literacy Day
On 8 September 2002, UNESCO will celebrate International Literacy Day for the 38th time. This year celebration will focus on "Literacy as Freedom", linking it to development. It will also underscore the importance of literacy and basic education as a major tool in building a cohesive and peaceful society for the 21st Century.