Simple DIY “remove before flight” covers

1.5 inch red ribbon
1.5 inch red ribbon

For safety reasons it a very good idea to have covers the the various tubes sticking out of an aircraft. It helps keep bugs and debris from clogging vital systems like the pitot tube and the fuel tank vents.

You can buy very clear cover-flags for $10 to $20. Or, you can make about a dozen for less than $4.

You need a sewing machine (or the patience to do a bunch of hand stitching) and you need a roll of 1.5″ or 2″ ribbon.

I cut pieces about 12″ long. I used a lighter to singe the fray ends. Next I folded the long way and stitched about 4-6″. That’s it. They fit perfect over the 1/4″ tubing. For a full sized pitot tube you cut two pieces of ribbon – one at 12″ and one at 6″ and stitch then face-to-face.

Size is relative for the iPhone 6 Plus

big phone in a big hand vs small hand
big phone in a big hand vs small hand

A friend posted a link to Monday’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” where they are talking about the iPhone 6 Plus.

The interesting visual from the segment is the size of the phone appears to change. With Michael Strahan the phone looks completely normal but with Kelly Ripa, the phone looks huge!

Think before you CSS

execution order of CSS affects usability
execution order of CSS affects usability

Modern websites are a rich combination of content, behavior, and style. The behavior has traditionally been implemented in JavaScript and the style has been achieved with CSS.

Ten years ago, browsers were simple and so were web pages. Developers didn’t have a lot of tools. Java in the browser was one solution JavaScript was another. Both had their usefulness, both had their issues. Most Java in the browser has gone the way of the Dodo Bird … thankfully.

JavaScript hasn’t been perfect. It’s biggest strength has also lead to it’s biggest challenge – it’s very easy to learn and use which has lead to it being used A LOT! This make websites heavy and slow, especially for those with slow internet connections such as DSL connections and mobile cellular internet.

Web developers – good web developers – understand not only what JavaScript can do but also HOW it it is handled by the browser. Their testing covers transmission, loading, and execution – not just functionality.

HTML5 and CSS3 are enabling more and more behavior without JavaScript. Modern browsers are really “web execution engines”. Look at the size (install and runtime footprint) of a modern browser and it’s clear it has been built to be a runtime system. They are capable of performing image manipulation from real time scaling and drop shadow to 3D transformations.

The shift from JavaScript to HTML5 and CSS3 for these capabilities brings with it the same developer concerns.

The image in this post is of a website which took approximately 30 seconds to render. It makes heavy use of CSS. As you can see, the developers didn’t consider what happens when their CSS loads slowly. The site is unusable – even confusing – until everything gets loaded and executed.

A good web experience requires a “progressing experience” – one where the user can get value very early and gets additional capability and options as more of the content is loaded. It’s bad design when the “content” is loaded but unusable because the “style” is slow. This type of experience suggests the developers and the owners believe “style over substance”. I doubt they want that to be their slogan.

How to take stereoscopic pictures with an iPhone

use burst mode to take left/right images
use burst mode to take left/right images

For some strange Geeky tick, I keep taking stereoscopic pictures. The process is pretty easy – take a picture and then shift a little to the right and take another. The distance of the shift will range from less than an inch for close-ups to a foot or more for very distant images.

The process works well when the subject matter doesn’t move. But how to take a picture where the subject matter is not so cooperative? You could use two cameras but that’s a lot more work. With the iPhone, Bust Mode is your friend. Here’s how it works …

Setup the first picture. Imagine where the second picture should be. Ideally, you shift from the first picture to the second by only shifting your weight or body and don’t have to move your feet. Now, press the shutter button on the iPhone and hold it while you shift toward the second position. It helps to shift a bit further than you need.

That’s it – you’ve got a series of photos that were taken in less than a second. View the series and pick the two images that work well for the stereoscopic image and discard the rest.

I use Diptic to place the two images together but you can use any App which let’s you place images side-by-side.


ice ball
ice ball

ice bubbles

News Flash: Apple to acquire Dickies’s

new iPhone 6 Plus pants
new iPhone 6 Plus pants

An unidentified source reports that Apple is concerned with the backlash from the size of the new iPhone 6 Plus. Reminiscent of “antenna gate” Apple has quietly proposed a solution.

Apple is in negotiations to acquire the clothing company Dickie’s. Apple will announce a new clothing line which accommodates the larger size of the iPhone 6 Plus. People who already ordered an iPhone 6 Plus will be given a free pair of pants.