I am not yet inundated with Promoted Tweets in my Twitter timeline and as such haven’t had the need to block twitter users (aka: companies) who clutter up my timeline with what is tantamount to spam.

Until today, a friend of mine is getting overloaded with “spam”/promoted tweets in his timeline and I decided to figure out a way to help him.  The solution, TweetFilter, a browser extension that allows you to filter out and highlight tweets based on all sorts of criteria, including promoted tweets.

Available for Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and IE9.

If anyone really knows me, they know I do not like DRM (that’s Digital Rights Management to the layman) and it will ultimately die a slow death. If you buy a book on the Amazon Kindle store, it comes with restrictions that don’t allow it to be sent to other people and you can only highlight so much text in any given book.

When I read books, I tend to digitally highlight the key passages that are the core of the themes and ideas of the books. So later on, if I want to review the book and be refreshed on the info, I don’t have to re-read the entire book but can review my highlights.

However, one of the stupid DRM restrictions that Amazon places on their books is that I can only highlight a certain amount of text in a book. Once you hit that limit, your highlights will not be saved and a message appears in its place saying “You have reached the clipping limit for this item.” So a book could have lots of great ideas, quotes, etc and you could hit this arbitrary limit and then go no further. It’s dumb and I’ve been looking for a way around it.

And today I found it! Apprentice Alf’s Blog shares a set of PC and Mac tools that allow you to remove DRM from Kindle books and other ebook stores out there.

I’m a proud Mac user and I found the easiest tool to use is the DeDRM 5.1 AppleScript app. So here’s how to do it… (legal disclaimer: of course you would only use this type of app for removing DRM from your own books and I don’t advocate stealing ;)

  1. Go to the Apprentice Alf Blog and download the tools_5.1.zip file and unzip thr contents
  2. Read the instructions about using the DeDRM 5.1 AppleScript app
  3. Unzip DeDRM5.1 and copy DeDRM 5.1 to your Applications folder
  4. Turn your Kindle on and press Menu and the press Settings.
  5. Copy down your 16 digit Kindle serial number.
  6. From your Applications folder, run DeDRM and hit the configure button and enter your 16 digit Kindle serial number and choose where you would like the new files to be outputted to.
  7. Then simply drag and drop .amz files from your Kindle onto DeDRM 5.1 and it will remove the DRM

Awesome, right!.  Now I can highlight passages to my heart’s content without worrying about highlighting too much.


8/21/2013: Update – The above blog has added a DeDRM plugin for Calibre (the awesome ebook management app) making this process even easier.

So there I was watching “Chopped” on the Food Network and saw one of the chefs using a blender.  As the blender was still churning up the contents inside, the chef put more fruit through the hole in the center of the top, where he had removed the cap.  I realized that you can still add stuff to your blender while it’s on and reduce the amount of backsplash the blender will want to kick out.  In the past, I’ve always just removed the entire top, quickly of course, throw more fruit inside and then put the top back on asap.  Now I know better.

While here in Montreal (for the 1st time), I noticed that sometimes green traffic lights will not just light up green but will blink green.  I have never seen this in all my world travels.  I asked a local and was told it means that you can either go straight through the light and you can safely turn left at that light without worrying whether oncoming traffic also has a green light.  In the US, we usually have a green arrow that is separate from the standard green light.

Oh and a quick tip if you want to avoid traffic tickets in Montreal, don’t turn right at any red light.  This is illegal in the entire city and will get you a ticket lickety split.  No right on any red lights…wait for a green light.  My good deed for the day is complete :)

Learned today that a simple Google query can tell you when sunrise/sunset is.

It’s as easy as typing “sunrise syracuse ny” or “New Orleans sunset” and it appears at the top of the results page.  Cool.

There is a Society of Saint Pius X Traditional Latin mass at 8am in San Pedro and today was the 1st time I visited this church and definitely won’t be the last.  However, I plugged the address of 3600 S Gaffey St into Google Maps (Bing & MapQuest) and it let me to that address but not to the church.  After googling the church’s name a little “Maria Stella Maris Mission”, I discovered the church is located on the Fort MacArthur park grounds and here is easiest way to get to it.

Type the address into Google Maps and follow it to the end of the route it gives you.  On your right hand side, just before your journey should end there will be the entrance to the Angels Gate Park and the Fort MacArthur Museum.  Turn right here onto Leavenworth Drive.  Follow Leavenworth Drive for 0.3 miles and over 5 speed bumps and just past the intersection of Osgood Farley Road and Leavenworth Drive.  The church will be on your left.  Leavenworth drive becomes Gaffey St again where the church is located even though Google Maps doesn’t show it.

If you want to get specific at the exact location of the church, it is at 33.713399,-118.297058.  Or type “Leavenworth Drive and Orc Rd, San Pedro, CA” into Google Maps to lead you right to it.

I work in Adobe After Effects only about once a month and don’t consider myself very knowledgeable with it yet and so whenever I learn something useful I like to share it with those who might share my pain.

I had imported a dozen vector graphics and was having them get larger and jump out.  But any time I scaled a graphic above 100%, the graphic became very soft and not in sharp focus, as if the graphic was not a vector graphic at all but a low resolution photo.

I googled my problem and discovered that there is a toggle next to each file in your composition that turns “continuously rasterize” on/off.  It looks like a little sun,  .  Once I did this for each image I had scaled above 100%, they all look perfectly sharp at any size just as vector graphics should.  Problem solved!

My sister-in-law has Celiac disease and thus cannot normally eat oats, barley, wheat, or rye.  Currently, she is pregnant and because her immune system is lowered due to the pregnancy, she can eat gluten without being adversely affected.

If you enjoy history and it presented in a fun and lively manner, than Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour in Seattle is just the ticket.  It describes how the city cooped with the tide levels, a city-wide fire, and no sewer system.  I don’t want to give away all the fascinating details but trust me, it was well worth the $16 for the two-hour tour.  You can read about it and buy tickets at https://www.undergroundtour.com/index.html

I had never visited or hiked on Mt Rainier before and I learned that at the top-most parking area for Paradise you can do more than go snowshoeing or hiking.  You can also go sledding on slopes that are dug out of the snow for park visitors.  Bring your own sled and sled at your own risk.  I found it worth it and taking me back almost 20 years.  Definitely worth the trip.