Category Archives: General

Efficient Method of Adding YouTube Videos to Your Blog

I recently upgraded my hosting provide (more on that later) and also made some modifications to my blog including a caching plugin, WP Super Cache, as well as a CSS minifier, WP Minify, in order to speed up website loading.

One thing that I noticed that took the longest on my site to load was the Flash, CSS, and javascript related to embedding a YouTube using the standard IFRAME tags, essentially what you do when you get the embedding code from the YouTube video page. This adds around ~400KB to the website size, not much but it adds up. A great work around is to load a thumbnail of the video with a play icon overlaid. The background data only loads when the play button is actually clicked.

The code can be found here: A More Efficient Embedding Method for YouTube Videos

MCW Cycling Club Updated

From 2006-2010 I attended the Medical College of Wisconsin. One of the clubs that I started was the CCIG, or Cycling Club Interest Group. I’m now almost 4 years out from graduating from MCW so haven’t really kept up too much with the activities of the club. There’s a ton of great cycling in Southeastern Wisconsin so I hope students continue to utilize the resources on the club’s site, MCW Cycling Club.

I had been hosting a PHP bulletin board, but the hassles of dealing with spam made it difficult to use. I recently transitioned the message board to Google Groups. It is invite only to limit access to current or former students. The message board can be accessed here: MCW Cycling Club Google Group

Kickstarter Open Source Death Star

Recently there was a funny attempt by a guy on Kickstarter to raise money to design detailed plans for a death star (a la Star Wars). The goal was £20,000,000 or around USD$30,500,000. This was in response to the White House replying to an official petition to “Secure resources and funding, and begin construction of a Death Star by 2016.” Due to continuing threats of not building it, this was the people’s of Earth attempt to raise the money themselves.
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Synology 412+ NAS

A couple weeks ago I purchased a Synology 412+ with two 2 TB Western Digital Red drives. I’ve been using it as an additional backup location for my computer as well as a media center. I added a CyberPower CP1000PFCLCD 600W UPS in case the power goes out temporarily. It has been working perfectly. It is running Synology Hybrid Raid, which, with only two drives, is equivalent to a RAID1. I have yet to add an additional drive (waiting until prices drop), at which point it will be a RAID5 NAS. I don’t know if it is the NAS or the drives, which are designed for NAS use, but this thing is super quiet; I can’t even tell that it is running even when it is being fully used.

Rather than recap what many people have already written, I’ll just link to a few reviews of the 412+ that I found:

Ars Technica: A fast NAS with class: 5 months with the Synology DS-412+
X-bit labs: 4-Bay NAS from Synology: Three Models Reviewed
CNET: Synology Disk Station DS412+ review

Interesting North Korean Links

I recently read an article talking about Eric Schmidt, the chairman of Google’s, trip to North Korea. His daughter, Sophie, kept a blog: Sophie in North Korea

Other interesting pages:
Kim Jong-Il looking at things
The North Korean Traffic Girls of Pyongyang
Information about travel to North Korea
HD YouTube video: Inside North Korea by an American Tourist

Open Volleyball in the Greater Milwaukee Area

I recently moved back to the Milwaukee area after living in Des Moines, Iowa for a year. I found some great open volleyball over there. When I came back to Milwaukee I really only knew of one good place to play. After a bunch of Googling and talking to people at the open volleyball places I found, I decided to compose this list of open volleyball locations in the Greater Milwaukee area. Please feel free to let me know of others, and I’ll update this list. All of these places do have a small fee to play. At the bottom of the list are a few local fitness clubs which have open volleyball only available to its members; I’ve played at the WAC open volleyball in the past and it can be quite good.

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Apple and Greenpeace butt heads again

In this article on Appleinsider, Apple calls into question Greenpeace’s analysis of their new data centers.

In the forum there’s a hilarious comment that I wanted to share, hill60 says,

I got the inside scoop from Mike Daisey, Apple built a secret tunnel from the Foxconn factories of China to North Carolina, they use the twelve year old workers they are hiding from labour inspectors to mine coal and use it in their secret underground power plant, the children are fed on whale meat by products from Apple’s whaling fleet, the whale oil is used to lubricate MacBook keyboards, not only that the rare Brazilian rainforest trees being cut down for Foxconns plants in Brazil are being used as props in the mineshafts where the twelve year olds work 27 hours a day, 9 days a week.

Don Walsh Describes the Trip to the Bottom of the Mariana Trench

The Virgin Oceanic adventurers currently vying to reach the bottom of the Mariana Trench are following in the path of two trailblazers who took the plunge in a peculiar underwater vehicle 52 years ago. IEEE Spectrum recently interviewed Don Walsh, who was a U.S. Navy lieutenant and a submariner when he made the journey down with Swiss engineer Jacques Piccard in 1960. To date, those two men are the only human beings who have laid eyes on the Mariana Trench seafloor—and in an ironic twist, they didn’t see much of anything.

They made the trip in a vehicle called a bathyscaphe, which looked something like an underwater dirigible. The crew cabin, a cramped steel sphere, was suspended from a massive tank holding about 130 000 liters of gasoline—which, with less density than water, would provide the buoyancy necessary to lift the craft from the chasm. Piccard and his father designed the vehicle together and sold it to the U.S. Navy in 1958.

Continue reading this incredible story (with multiple sound clips from an interview) on ieee spectrum.

Why we have leap days

It’s been awhile since I posted and just wanted to link to a few interesting articles that I recently read.

Here’s the first one:

When I was a kid, I had a friend whose birthday was on February 29th. I used to rib him that he was only 3 years old, and he would visibly restrain himself from punching me. Evidently he heard that joke a lot.

Of course, he was really 12. But since February 29th is a leap day, it only comes once every four years.

And why is it only a quadrennial event?

Duh. Astronomy!

Continue reading on Discover Magazine