Introducing O’Reilly Answers


I love “lazyweb” sites, Q&A sites, and other crowdsourced resources that deal in instant-gratification content. I especially like them when the signal to noise ratio is high; when a lot of really smart, inspired people come together to share their expertise.

As of a few weeks ago, O’Reilly now has its own such site, O’Reilly Answers, a place where O’Reilly authors, editors, conference speakers and goers, readers, i.e. the O’Reilly community, can share knowledge and ideas. Some have asked: how is this any different from StackOverflow? StackOverflow is about programming. O’Reilly Answers is about anything its community of users wants it to be about. The site’s tagline is: “Clever Hacks. Creative Ideas. Innovative Solutions.” If that’s what it turns out to be about, it’ll definitely be a place where you’ll want to hang.

O’Reilly Answers

20% Off everything in the Maker Shed!

5711475 0Ca88C1218 B Until midnight (PST) on Sunday, you can get 20% off *everything* in the MakerShed store. Here’s a note from Dan Woods of Maker Shed:

It’s hot here in Sebastopol. So hot, that the PG&E substation across the street blew a transformer and knocked out our power yesterday afternoon. So…. Under the category of anything is a good excuse for a promotion, we’ll do the “dog days” promotion now through midnight Sunday, August 31. Visit MakerShed and enter “dogdays” as the promotional code and get 20% off everything in your shopping cart. Offer expires midnight PST this Sunday (9/1).

Inspiring Art Golf at Maker Faire

One of the coolest things I’ve seen so far at Maker Faire Austin, which officially starts tomorrow (Saturday), is the Art Golf installation done by Philo Northrup and Jeffrey and Jillian of Because We Can. It’s a gorgeous CNC-milled pack ‘n go (note the hinges) mini-golf course done with fun, wit, and whimsy measured by the inch. If you’re not filled with child-like giddiness and nerdgasmic joy at the sheer brilliance of the design, fabrication, and execution of this project, you really need to have that looked at.

Seen in these pics (middle two) is the amazing Texas Miniaturization Ray hole (apparently not *everything* in Texas is beginner). Your regular-size ball goes in, a mini golf ball comes out and is played through the hole to the next hole, where a full-size ball re-emerges. Each hole is cooler than the next.

These pics were taken by photographer to the digerati/Makerati Scott Beale. He has more pics (and will add more), via Laughing Squid, on Flickr.

Follow for Now Interview Collection

Follow for Now: Interviews with Friends and Heroes is a collection of interviews put together by Roy Christopher. It features a glowing cavalcade of cyber stars, talking on technology, culture, media, and science. Interviewees include Bruce Sterling, Doug Rushkoff, Brenda Laurel, DJ Spooky, Steven Johnson, Mark Dery, Geert Lovink, and many others. Oh… and ME. At 400 pages long, with interviews conducted over seven years, this is a fascinating group snapshot of key thinkers of the webbed world. Oh… and ME.

Back to school special

Lifehacker has a nice round-up of very useful software tools for the returning student, from printable graph paper, to socially networked class notes, to Google Book Search and Google Scholar. Forget school kids, *I* plan to make use of a bunch of this stuff. I would add JetEye to this list. I continue to find it a very useful tools for building up databuckets of info, images, notes, etc.

Download and print books via Google Books

Via SiliconBeat:

Google is offering free PDF downloads at Google Books, of those books in the public domain. You can then print them out.

You can download titles like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays (see example here), Dante’s Inferno and Carlyle’s Samuel Johnson.

Downloaded books carry a watermark identifying Google as the PDF’s origin. Perhaps a bone to publishers Google is trying to negotiate with, who will only get more nervous with this sort of printing capability.


Another TiddlyWiki-based GTD

Street Tech (and Make) readers may already know that I’m a fan of GTDTiddlywiki, the in-browser personal organizer based on the Getting Things Done system and wiki technology. I’ve been using it, happily, for over a year and half. I’m tempted by some of the other GTD tools that are constantly pouring onto the interwebs, but I’m trying to stick with one system as long as possible and not make constant system upgrade and maintenance take away too from time from GTD. But if I *was* going to switch it up, I might go with MonkeyGTD, another Tiddlywiki-based client-side wiki that adds a dashboard, a global view of all of your next actions, projects, etc. and a layout that’s more open, more… er… iGoogle-like. In fact, I’m attracted enough to this, I probably will make the switch sooner or later.

Open Invites to Private Betas

It’s about time somebody did this. From Lifehacker:

Tired of being left out of private betas? Not to worry – try InviteShare, a service that encourages those with beta invites to share them with the Web community at large. Here’s how it works: people with beta invites share them with those who don’t have them – it’s super simple. Plus, while e-mail addresses are displayed publicly, they’re in image form, which means no spam bot attacks. This is a great way to get in on services before they’re open to everyone.


Jumbdrive Mega Apps List

We’ve talked on Street Tech before about how you can turn a decent-sized Flash drive (USB drive, thumb drive, jumpdrive, whatever we’re supposed to be calling it these days) into a pocketable alternative to a laptop for carrying apps and data between computers, on the road, etc. This-here d00d has a nice master list of Windows-friendly, mostly free, apps and utilities.


Uber List of GTD Tools

Lifehacker has a link to a passle of Getting Things Done tools. They say:

“This enormous list of GTD Tools will surely keep you from getting anything done.”

True dat.