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Tweet from David_Risney

2015 Mar 29, 11:01
Faust: I want to XSS everyone! Devil: Sign here… Faust: Oh no, GitHub server's can't handle the traffic! ♪ Twilight zone theme ♪

The Doritos origin story: Repurposed garbage from Disneyland

2014 May 6, 7:16


A reminder that those Doritos you love are trash:

Shortly after Disneyland opened in 1955, the founder of Frito-Lay got permission from Walt Disney to open a restaurant in Frontierland with a Mexican-ish theme. “Casa de Fritos” was, unsurprisingly, all about the Fritos. Customers got free Fritos, and Fritos were incorporated into many of the dishes. Fritos were dispensed by an animatronic vending machine that featured the terrifying “Frito Kid”asking his assistant “Klondike” to bring the bag up from a mineshaft. I guess the conceit is that Fritos were mined by Forty-Niners?

Casa de Fritos contracted their tortilla production to a company called Alex Foods. One of the salesmen from Alex Foods, making a delivery to Casa de Fritos, noticed stale tortillas in the garbage and gave the cook a little tip: fry them and sell them as chips instead of throwing them away. Casa de Fritos began making these fried, seasoned chips to enormous success, but didn’t report this new menu item to the Frito-Lay company.

Eventually Frito-Lay found out what they were doing with the chips, packaged them, and sold them by the truckload. See, dumpster diving works out sometimes!


URI functions in Windows Store Applications

2013 Jul 25, 1:00


The Modern SDK contains some URI related functionality as do libraries available in particular projection languages. Unfortunately, collectively these APIs do not cover all scenarios in all languages. Specifically, JavaScript and C++ have no URI building APIs, and C++ additionally has no percent-encoding/decoding APIs.
WinRT (JS and C++)
JS Only
C++ Only
.NET Only
Relative resolution
Encode data for including in URI property
Decode data extracted from URI property
Build Query
Parse Query
The Windows.Foudnation.Uri type is not projected into .NET modern applications. Instead those applications use System.Uri and the platform ensures that it is correctly converted back and forth between Windows.Foundation.Uri as appropriate. Accordingly the column marked WinRT above is applicable to JS and C++ modern applications but not .NET modern applications. The only entries above applicable to .NET are the .NET Only column and the WwwFormUrlDecoder in the bottom left which is available to .NET.



This functionality is provided by the WinRT API Windows.Foundation.Uri in C++ and JS, and by System.Uri in .NET.
Parsing a URI pulls it apart into its basic components without decoding or otherwise modifying the contents.
var uri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("");
console.log(uri.path);// /path%20segment1/path%20segment2

WsDecodeUrl (C++)

WsDecodeUrl is not suitable for general purpose URI parsing.  Use Windows.Foundation.Uri instead.

Build (C#)

URI building is only available in C# via System.UriBuilder.
URI building is the inverse of URI parsing: URI building allows the developer to specify the value of basic components of a URI and the API assembles them into a URI. 
To work around the lack of a URI building API developers will likely concatenate strings to form their URIs.  This can lead to injection bugs if they don’t validate or encode their input properly, but if based on trusted or known input is unlikely to have issues.
            Uri originalUri = new Uri("");
            UriBuilder uriBuilder = new UriBuilder(originalUri);
            uriBuilder.Path = "/path2/";
            Uri newUri = uriBuilder.Uri; //

WsEncodeUrl (C++)

WsEncodeUrl, in addition to building a URI from components also does some encoding.  It encodes non-US-ASCII characters as UTF8, the percent, and a subset of gen-delims based on the URI property: all :/?#[]@ are percent-encoded except :/@ in the path and :/?@ in query and fragment.
Accordingly, WsEncodeUrl is not suitable for general purpose URI building.  It is acceptable to use in the following cases:
- You’re building a URI out of non-encoded URI properties and don’t care about the difference between encoded and decoded characters.  For instance you’re the only one consuming the URI and you uniformly decode URI properties when consuming – for instance using WsDecodeUrl to consume the URI.
- You’re building a URI with URI properties that don’t contain any of the characters that WsEncodeUrl encodes.


This functionality is provided by the WinRT API Windows.Foundation.Uri in C++ and JS and by System.Uri in .NET.  Normalization is applied during construction of the Uri object.
URI normalization is the application of URI normalization rules (including DNS normalization, IDN normalization, percent-encoding normalization, etc.) to the input URI.
        var normalizedUri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("HTTP://EXAMPLE.COM/p%61th foo/");
        console.log(normalizedUri.absoluteUri); //
This is modulo Win8 812823 in which the Windows.Foundation.Uri.AbsoluteUri property returns a normalized IRI not a normalized URI.  This bug does not affect System.Uri.AbsoluteUri which returns a normalized URI.


This functionality is provided by the WinRT API Windows.Foundation.Uri in C++ and JS and by System.Uri in .NET. 
URI equality determines if two URIs are equal or not necessarily equal.
            var uri1 = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("HTTP://EXAMPLE.COM/p%61th foo/"),
                uri2 = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("");
            console.log(uri1.equals(uri2)); // true

Relative resolution

This functionality is provided by the WinRT API Windows.Foundation.Uri in C++ and JS and by System.Uri in .NET 
Relative resolution is a function that given an absolute URI A and a relative URI B, produces a new absolute URI C.  C is the combination of A and B in which the basic components specified in B override or combine with those in A under rules specified in RFC 3986.
        var baseUri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri(""),
            relativeUri = "/path?query#fragment",
            absoluteUri = baseUri.combineUri(relativeUri);
        console.log(baseUri.absoluteUri);       //
        console.log(absoluteUri.absoluteUri);   //

Encode data for including in URI property

This functionality is available in JavaScript via encodeURIComponent and in C# via System.Uri.EscapeDataString. Although the two methods mentioned above will suffice for this purpose, they do not perform exactly the same operation.
Additionally we now have Windows.Foundation.Uri.EscapeComponent in WinRT, which is available in JavaScript and C++ (not C# since it doesn’t have access to Windows.Foundation.Uri).  This is also slightly different from the previously mentioned mechanisms but works best for this purpose.
Encoding data for inclusion in a URI property is necessary when constructing a URI from data.  In all the above cases the developer is dealing with a URI or substrings of a URI and so the strings are all encoded as appropriate. For instance, in the parsing example the path contains “path%20segment1” and not “path segment1”.  To construct a URI one must first construct the basic components of the URI which involves encoding the data.  For example, if one wanted to include “path segment / example” in the path of a URI, one must percent-encode the ‘ ‘ since it is not allowed in a URI, as well as the ‘/’ since although it is allowed, it is a delimiter and won’t be interpreted as data unless encoded.
If a developer does not have this API provided they can write it themselves.  Percent-encoding methods appear simple to write, but the difficult part is getting the set of characters to encode correct, as well as handling non-US-ASCII characters.
        var uri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("" +
            "/" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent("path segment / example") +
            "?key=" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent("=&?#"));
        console.log(uri.absoluteUri); //

WsEncodeUrl (C++)

In addition to building a URI from components, WsEncodeUrl also percent-encodes some characters.  However the API is not recommend for this scenario given the particular set of characters that are encoded and the convoluted nature in which a developer would have to use this API in order to use it for this purpose.
There are no general purpose scenarios for which the characters WsEncodeUrl encodes make sense: encode the %, encode a subset of gen-delims but not also encode the sub-delims.  For instance this could not replace encodeURIComponent in a C++ version of the following code snippet since if ‘value’ contained ‘&’ or ‘=’ (both sub-delims) they wouldn’t be encoded and would be confused for delimiters in the name value pairs in the query:
"" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent(value)
Since WsEncodeUrl produces a string URI, to obtain the property they want to encode they’d need to parse the resulting URI.  WsDecodeUrl won’t work because it decodes the property but Windows.Foundation.Uri doesn’t decode.  Accordingly the developer could run their string through WsEncodeUrl then Windows.Foundation.Uri to extract the property.

Decode data extracted from URI property

This functionality is available in JavaScript via decodeURIComponent and in C# via System.Uri.UnescapeDataString. Although the two methods mentioned above will suffice for this purpose, they do not perform exactly the same operation.
Additionally we now also have Windows.Foundation.Uri.UnescapeComponent in WinRT, which is available in JavaScript and C++ (not C# since it doesn’t have access to Windows.Foundation.Uri).  This is also slightly different from the previously mentioned mechanisms but works best for this purpose.
Decoding is necessary when extracting data from a parsed URI property.  For example, if a URI query contains a series of name and value pairs delimited by ‘=’ between names and values, and by ‘&’ between pairs, one must first parse the query into name and value entries and then decode the values.  It is necessary to make this an extra step separate from parsing the URI property so that sub-delimiters (in this case ‘&’ and ‘=’) that are encoded will be interpreted as data, and those that are decoded will be interpreted as delimiters.
If a developer does not have this API provided they can write it themselves.  Percent-decoding methods appear simple to write, but have some tricky parts including correctly handling non-US-ASCII, and remembering not to decode .
In the following example, note that if unescapeComponent were called first, the encoded ‘&’ and ‘=’ would be decoded and interfere with the parsing of the name value pairs in the query.
            var uri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri("");
                function (keyValueString) {
                    var keyValue = keyValueString.split("=");
                    console.log(Windows.Foundation.Uri.unescapeComponent(keyValue[0]) + ": " + Windows.Foundation.Uri.unescapeComponent(keyValue[1]));
                    // foo: bar
                    // array: ['','&','=','#']

WsDecodeUrl (C++)

Since WsDecodeUrl decodes all percent-encoded octets it could be used for general purpose percent-decoding but it takes a URI so would require the dev to construct a stub URI around the string they want to decode.  For example they could prefix “http:///#” to their string, run it through WsDecodeUrl and then extract the fragment property.  It is convoluted but will work correctly.

Parse Query

The query of a URI is often encoded as application/x-www-form-urlencoded which is percent-encoded name value pairs delimited by ‘&’ between pairs and ‘=’ between corresponding names and values.
In WinRT we have a class to parse this form of encoding using Windows.Foundation.WwwFormUrlDecoder.  The queryParsed property on the Windows.Foundation.Uri class is of this type and created with the query of its Uri:
    var uri = Windows.Foundation.Uri("");
        function (pair) {
            console.log("name: " + + ", value: " + pair.value);
            // name: foo, value: bar
            // name: array, value: ['','&','=','#']
    console.log(uri.queryParsed.getFirstValueByName("array")); // ['','&','=','#']
The QueryParsed property is only on Windows.Foundation.Uri and not System.Uri and accordingly is not available in .NET.  However the Windows.Foundation.WwwFormUrlDecoder class is available in C# and can be used manually:
            Uri uri = new Uri("");
            WwwFormUrlDecoder decoder = new WwwFormUrlDecoder(uri.Query);
            foreach (IWwwFormUrlDecoderEntry entry in decoder)
                System.Diagnostics.Debug.WriteLine("name: " + entry.Name + ", value: " + entry.Value);
                // name: foo, value: bar
                // name: array, value: ['','&','=','#']

Build Query

To build a query of name value pairs encoded as application/x-www-form-urlencoded there is no WinRT API to do this directly.  Instead a developer must do this manually making use of the code described in “Encode data for including in URI property”.
In terms of public releases, this property is only in the RC and later builds.
For example in JavaScript a developer may write:
            var uri = new Windows.Foundation.Uri(""),
                query = "?" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent("array") + "=" + Windows.Foundation.Uri.escapeComponent("['','&','=','#']");
            console.log(uri.combine(new Windows.Foundation.Uri(query)).absoluteUri); //'%E3%84%93'%2C'%26'%2C'%3D'%2C'%23'%5D
PermalinkCommentsc# c++ javascript technical uri windows windows-runtime windows-store

Ben Goldacre’s TED talk on publication bias, drug...

2012 Sep 28, 3:55

drug companies hiding the results of clinical trials.

(via I did a new talk at TED, on drug companies and hidden data.)

PermalinkCommentsscience video ted

Perfect Stranges video game (via The World Deserves A Perfect...

2012 May 2, 1:34

Perfect Stranges video game (via The World Deserves A Perfect Strangers Video Game. Now, It Has One. [Perfect Strangers])

PermalinkCommentshumor perfect-strangers music theme tv game videogame

Follow the link for other great Al themed artwork. (via...

2012 Mar 7, 7:50

Follow the link for other great Al themed artwork.


PermalinkCommentshumor weird-al art

(via Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea):...

2012 Jan 18, 3:21

(via Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea): Clay Shirky on

PermalinkCommentsvideo copyright clay-shirky sopa pipa legal politics mpaa ted

Yahoo! Accepts OpenID Authentication with Google

2010 Oct 28, 6:32PermalinkCommentsOpenID Second Level Features YDN Theme Categories technical

Learning to Be Me by Greg Egan from Gedanken Fictions: Stories on Themes in Science, Technology, and Society By Thomas A. Easton

2010 Sep 6, 10:16Via Waxy, a short story on the topic of consciousness.PermalinkCommentsvia:waxy scifi fiction read short-story brain

YouTube - Skullmonkeys - The Lil Bonus Room music

2008 Jul 25, 1:52Music that played in a bonus room of the game Skullmonkeys. Cited by Jonathan Coulton as inspiration for the Portal end theme.PermalinkCommentsvideo music humor skullmonkeys lil-bonus-room videogame

Saul and Ciera's Wedding Cake

2008 Apr 21, 6:05

sequelguy posted a photo:

Saul and Ciera's Wedding Cake

A mountain climbing themed wedding cake with two backpacks at the top.

PermalinkCommentscalifornia wedding cake saulcierawedding

Mario Theme Played with RC Car and Bottles Video

2008 Apr 15, 11:23Reminds me of the sequences where you must collect notes in Super Mario Galaxy.PermalinkCommentshumor mario music video videogame via:boingboing

Tetris Theme Trademark - Latest Status Info

2008 Mar 24, 11:22Tetris Holding LLC trademarked "an instrumental tune in the style of a Russian folk song in 2/2 time or cut time having at least two 8-bar phrases" used in video games. "Trademark Document Retrieval" links to mp3s of examples from GB Tetris.PermalinkCommentstetris copyright game music korobeiniki russia on NearlyFreeSpeech.NET Update

2008 Mar 23, 12:38

The move of my website to NearlyFreeSpeech.NET is mostly complete except for a few server side things not working yet: RandomGrammar and parts of Vizicious. I'm still very happy with the NearlyFreeSpeech.NET hosting and so far I've only spent a few cents on hosting. At this rate I'll only spend a few dollars a year.

I've moved all my pages to use the same CSS and hooked it up with cookies to my Kuler color options so now changes to the color theme will stick and apply to all my pages. I haven't figured out the caching for this yet so you may have to refresh to see changes to color applied. technical webhosting kuler homepage

Jonathan Coulton - The MP3 Store

2008 Mar 17, 10:16Jonathan Coulton's music available as CC mp3s. He did 'Still Alive' the ending theme for Portal and 'Re: Brains' the zombie song.PermalinkCommentsjonathan-coulton mp3 music download humor cc copyright

Theme Options

2007 Dec 24, 12:41These days it seems like there's a social sharing website for everything representable as bits. Like Scribd for (mostly legal) documents, SciVee for scientific research videos, Wordie for words, and Kuler for color themes. Kuler seems like a ridiculous website (overkill) but I had been meaning to update my homepage's color design and Kuler has an RSS based REST API. The API lets you obtain things like the most recently added color themes or the most popular or all themes containing the color dark red, etc... So of course rather than update my website's design I hooked up my css to the color themes coming out of Kuler. Select my main page's color theme from a list of random Kuler themes. As I'm sure the regular readers can guess I use an xslt and blah blah blah... It looks OK with Silver Surfer and Happy Hipo but in general changing the colors this way doesn't produce something pretty.

When reading about Kuler I found that they may have stolen the whole idea wholeslae from ColourLovers. They discuss the thievery in an article on their blog. I would have switched over to ColourLovers out of principle but they don't have an easily accessible API.PermalinkCommentscolourlovers color xslt theme homepage technical kuler design

Portal is fun; the cake is a lie!

2007 Oct 22, 4:47I purchased the Orange Box off of Steam a bit ago and like others before me who have discussed elsewhere, I already owned two of the five games that come from the Orange Box. However, the combined price of HL2E2 and Portal, the two games I actually wanted was supposedly equivalent to the price of the Orange Box bundle. Incidentally, if anyone would like HL2 or HL2E1 I can gift them to you.

HL2E2 was excellent of course but the big surprise for me was Portal. (Mild spoilers follow) It has a sort of zen simplicity: there are a few simple game-play mechanics, a handful of textures and objects, and a deceptively simple story all used well and tied together to produce an entertaining and polished game. It seems a bit short but its probably better to end with the gamer demanding more. The humor and the sort of play within a play aspect of the game is what really sold me though. It has the funniest ending theme I've heard (also blogged by the creator). The voices of the automated turrets are so adorable I would feel compelled to hug them if they weren't always trying to kill me. Additionally the weighted companion cube seems like an experiment in understanding gamers' attachment to NPCs. In this case the NPC is a box and yet I still felt awful incinerating it. The whole time I was vaguely reminded of Solitary the reality show that sticks contestants alone in small rooms forcing them to endure various tests all the while being watched by a humorous computer with a female voice. Someone should sue...

RPS has articles on Portal including a Portal review, a page suggesting Portal is a tale of lesbianism, and others.PermalinkCommentshl2e2 game hl2 solitary valve portal nontechnical

YouTube - Family Guy - Peter's 80s Dance with Cleavland

2007 Jun 8, 1:30Clip from the Family Guy of Peter doing 80s style things. Specifically enjoying the Beverly Hills Copy theme song. Why do I think this is so funny?PermalinkCommentsfamily-guy 80s music video humor tv

San Francisco Trip

2007 May 11, 7:48Hotel Diva BedAfter Carissa and Elijah's wedding Sarah and I went to San Francisco. We drove in, well Sarah drove anyway, still in the PT Cruiser Sunday morning and checked into our hotel, Hotel Diva. I was originally concerned that I wouldn't fit in as I don't really consider myself a diva, however the hotel was cool. They have Internet rooms setup in various themes, the front desk is always staffed, our room had a very modern look, and when we entered the flat-screen over the front desk was playing an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force.

Outside the SF Museum of Modern ArtWe walked around a bit before going to the SF Museum of Modern Art. There was a Picasso exhibit at the time which we could see for only $3 more. It felt kind of wrong like my ticket was super-sized. I think the most memorable piece I saw was three white panels which consisted of three blank panels. Art. Sure. After that Sarah wanted to see the giant Hello Kitty store she had heard of from her sister. We ended up going to the Westfield Shopping center which has a disappointingly average sized Hello Kitty store. Apparently the giant one is gone. That night we went to First Crush for dinner. I had a flight of wine which consists of three one-third sized glasses of various but complimentary wines. It was a great restaurant in terms of food, drink, atmosphere and service.

Sarah & I Pier 39The next morning we were even more the tourists when we went down to Fisherman's Wharf and Pier 39. We visited the famous wax museum and purchased multiple pounds of taffy. On the way back to the Oakland airport we got to experience a little traffic as part of the 580 freeway had collapsed the morning we arrived and was still under repair on our way out. We survived of course and I think the trip went rather well.PermalinkCommentssanfrancisco personal california sfmoma nontechnical

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters

2007 Apr 15, 7:37Friday Jon, Daniil, and I saw Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters. It was really great. The quality of individual Aqua Teen episodes varies wildly but this movie was very funny. It was like watching an excellent episode that happened to be 87 minutes long.

I had some difficulty generating interest for the movie as many didn't think this was 'their kind of movie'. I asked Sarah and she said no but I talked to her about it again later after she watched a clip and she said she really didn't want to see it because it looked too weird. I asked her what she saw in the clip and she said a man with weird pants was talking with french fries while a drink was getting a meatball to push him around in a cart.

Well, when you put it like that it does sound weird...PermalinkCommentsmovie personal nontechnical
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