Character Palette Bookmarklet

Posted in web at 3:20 pm by danvk

The other day, I noticed that one of my friends had Wikipedia’s article on the em dash bookmarked in her toolbar. While that article is a gem of punctuation literature, it turned out that she would go to it, select an em dash, and copy/paste it into emails.

A better way to do this is with a bookmarklet. Drag this to your browser’s bookmark toolbar:

character palette

Click the bookmarklet on any page. You’ll see a character palette like this:


Select the character you like and either copy/paste it or drag it where you like. Then click “Close” to make the palette go away until you need it again. Enjoy!

Note: I’ve tested this in Firefox, Safari and Chrome. This probably doesn’t work in IE.


A Great Twitter Experience

Posted in personal, web at 10:50 am by danvk

As danvk.org regulars know, I recently joined Twitter. I had a great experience with it last weekend and came away feeling as though I’d “seen the future”.

I ran into Tyler Hinman last weekend at a friend’s Oscars party. Tyler’s claim to fame was that he’d won the American Crosssword Puzzle Tournament the previous four years, starting in 2005 when the movie Wordplay was filmed. Tyler played a major role in that movie.

Tyler told us that he’d be trying to make it five times in a row the next weekend. So, come the weekend, I was curious to see how he did.

After one day of competition, the official results page showed Tyler in fourth with one puzzle left before the finals. If you’ve seen Wordplay, you know that fourth place is a bad spot to find yourself. Only the top three finishers qualify for the finals.

On Sunday, the standard news sources weren’t helpful. A crossword tournament is not exactly front-page material. The official tournament page hadn’t been updated. Even the bloggers would take another few days to tell the story. So I tried Twitter.

I searched for #acpt and saw these two results:

Tim-boone-tristin_normal boonebgorges: Congrats on the fivepeat to Tyler Hinman, and nice work to Francis and Trip for a valiant final round! #acpt
Bzbz2_normal bgzimmer: #acpt The thrilling conclusion of the crossword tourney, now on YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/dzx5uw

Not only did I immediately get the bit of news I wanted, I also got to watch it on video!

I’m not saying this is a great way to get news in general. A crossword puzzle tournament is more likely draw the twitterers than most events. But just consider that this would not have been possible even one year ago.


All A-Twitter

Posted in web at 5:23 pm by danvk

Has anyone else noticed Twitter being mentioned in the news more and more the last few weeks?

These have all happened in the last month:

All this makes me think I should hop on the bandwagon. I just created an account. I’m danvdk.


FreeCreditReport.com scam

Posted in personal, web at 7:16 pm by danvk

I was looking over my checking account transactions for the past year and saw a mysterious $12.95 charge from “CIC*Triple Advantage 877-48168″ appearing once a month. A search quickly showed that I’d been had by FreeCreditReport.com.

Turns out I’d used this site to get a credit check when I moved in to my old apartment last August. Everyone is entitled to one free credit check per year, and I thought that this was what I was getting. I’d failed to notice the fine print on their main page (helpfully displayed in blue-on-blue text):

When you order your free report here, you will begin your free trial membership in Triple AdvantageSM Credit Monitoring. If you don’t cancel your membership within the 7-day trial period†, you will be billed $14.95 for each month that you continue your membership.
ConsumerInfo.com, Inc. and Freecreditreport.com are not affiliated with the annual free credit report program. Under a new Federal law, you have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies. To request your free annual report under that law, you must go to www.annualcreditreport.com.

That’s right, they sign you up for a free trial of a monthly service which you must opt-out of after 30 days. They do their best not to tell you that they’ve signed you up.

Looking back in my checking account, I found 16 months * $12.95/month = $207.20 in charges. Thanks to help from this discussion, I was eventually able to get this refunded in its entirety. Read more for details.

Read the rest of this entry »


Milk and Moscone Online

Posted in news, politics, web at 11:57 am by danvk

Today is the 30th anniversary of the Moscone-Milk assassinations and, fueled by the upcoming release of the movie Milk, they’ve been all over the local airways.

For those not familiar with the basic story (I wasn’t before I moved to SF), City Supervisor Dan White quit his job, then asked to be reinstated. When Mayor George Moscone refused, White returned to city hall with a gun and murdered Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, who happened also be the first openly-gay elected official in the country. Another Supervisor, now-Senator Dianne Feinstein became mayor as a result of these killings.

Dianne Feinstein announcing the deaths of Moscone and Milk

An NPR show yesterday included a clip of Feinstein giving a dramatic press conference announcing the deaths. Much to my surprise, an original copy of that night’s newcast has found its way online.

The Feinstein press conference is at 2:10. Listen to the gasps. The 70′s production is jarring to look at now though, except for the cars, the shots of San Francisco could have been taken yesterday.

I couldn’t figure out whether this is an isolated clip or part of a larger collection. How cool would it be if all of NBC’s old newscasts were online?

« Previous Page« Previous entries Next entries »Next Page »