Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Election cartoons 1860-1912

For a look at political cartoons chronicling the presidential elections 1860-1912, see this Harpers Weekly "Exploring History" page. It shows cartoons from Harpers Weekly and other leading magazines of the day, with historical context, campaign overviews, biographical sketches, and summaries of the major issues of the era.

Policy Map

Policy Map is a powerful resource for in-depth analysis of any region/city/neighborhood in the U.S. Provides more than 4,000 indicators related to demographics, real estate, crime, money & income, jobs, education, energy, and public investments. You can search any location by address, census tract, county, state, zip code, school district, or Congressional district. Much data is free, but there are standard and premium subscriptions if you need more. Sample below shows the percent of democratic presidential campaign contributions in a neighborhood I grew up in.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Other characters

Remembering how to produce rarely called-for characters can be a nuisance, but copypastercharacter is a great help. Just click on the character, and it's loaded onto your clipboard, ready for pasting. A comparable service is Twitterkeys, which also provides this example of how we may write:

“I’m going to ✈ to ☭ in the morning after I make a ☎ to make sure my ♂ is ✔ with it. ✌ for now and don’t forget to ✍ and lets have ♨ soon!”

The end is near.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Dapperfox (RSSify any website!)

Dapperfox is a Firefox extension that enables you to create an RSS feed from any consistently formatted webpage. For example, I've created a feed for Marylaine Block's always interesting and useful "Neat New Stuff on the Net" column, which used to be distributed via email but no longer is. (I find that retrieving requires more effort than receiving, and too often, when things stop coming to to me, I don't start going them. Oh, and don't forget, you can subscribe to Knowbodies via RSS and/or email!) You'll find the Neat New Stuff feed - along with lots of other interesting feeds - in the awesome Knowbodies Library and Technology Pageflake. Dapperfox can also create nifty widgets for you, like the one below (also from Neat New Stuff), that you can stick anywhere you like. I had some trouble logging into Dapperfox, and am pleased to mention that the support folks there were extremely responsive to my several emails and quickly resolved the problem.

 Add to your site powered by Dapper 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Google Newspapers

Google has announced a major newspaper digitization project:
Today, we're launching an initiative to make more old newspapers accessible and searchable online by partnering with newspaper publishers to digitize millions of pages of news archives...

...You’ll be able to explore this historical treasure trove by searching the Google News Archive or by using the timeline feature after searching Google News. Not every search will trigger this new content, but you can start by trying queries like [Nixon space shuttle] or [Titanic located]. Stories we've scanned under this initiative will appear alongside already-digitized material from publications like the New York Times as well as from archive aggregators, and are marked "Google News Archive."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chrome to Firefox

If you're not sure yet if you want to abandon Firefox (with all its great add-ons - like  mouse gestures - to mention one that I find indispensable) for Chrome,  Lifehacker has provided a guide to how Chrome's best features can be enabled in Firefox. Transferrable features include stealth browsing, status-bar display of downloads,  running webapps as separate applications on your pc, and doing site-specific searches.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Exciting news - Google Chrome and Mozilla Ubiquity

Two recent and interesting developments are the announcement of the Google Chrome browser, and Mozilla's Ubiquity plugin, which greatly extends browser functionality. Walt Mossberg writes about Chrome in the WSJ, or you can read the comic book tutorial.  I've given Ubiquity a try, and at first blush it seems very neat. It is  nicely described in this blog post, and you can take it for a spin here.

Monday, September 1, 2008


Spreednews looks much like any other start page that aggregates feeds from your favorite news sources.  When you select an item to read, however, the text is presented to you in a "text projector" that displays the text in short bursts on a black screen, at whatever speed you choose. The idea is to leverage the power of the computer to assist in pushing information to the reader faster.