Scripting News for 5/8/2007

Background images 

I’ve been playing around, inbetween heatwaves and bad movies, with the browser-based interface for FlickrRivr. Was looking for a cool background image, then I realized I had a whole folder of them, so I added a button that allows you to change the background image to a random choice from the folder.

To get the new features, OPML Editor users, bring flickrRivr.root to the front, and choose Update Front Tool from the Tools menu.


Mike Arrington has the scoop on an interesting concept for a rumors site that borrows features from Digg and Twitter.

It seems to me that a combination of Digg and Twitter has a lot of potential, as I said on Twitter on May 3. 🙂

What’s normal changes 

When I was a kid growing up in NYC in the 60s, every apartment building had an incinerator in the basement, every floor had a garbage chute, and periodically they’d burn the garbage. Out of a chimney on the roof would come a vile combination of soot, flying pieces of debris, burnt garbage. They’d often burn the garbage in the morning while we were on our way to school. On our wet hair, faces and clothes made smart and sparkly by our moms, would come down this vile mixture. We’d cough, eyes would tear, what a way to start a day — what a way to start a life!

Forty years later, in the springtime the weather in the Berkeley hills is gorgeous. Every day there’s a new wonderful and natural smell rising from the gardens. The air is clear, and if it gets hot, it’s just a matter of a couple of days before “nature’s air conditioning” kicks in. The air is good to breathe, feels good on the skin, if you take a shower you stay clean. No one burns garbage.

Oh but the noise! At 8:15AM I’m awoken by the sounds of a construction site which is down the street but sounds like it’s right next door it’s so loud and jarring. It will be like that all day, my guess is it will last through the summer. We live in paradise, but it’s never quiet enough to enjoy it. Leaf blowers fill in the gaps between construction crews. Jack-hammers, saws, idling trucks, cement mixers. Every street in the neighborhood is like this.

Maybe in twenty years they will invent a quiet way of tearing down and rebuilding. I wish they would do it now.

Amyloo: “I have a memory of burning trash, too.”

Postscript: Calvin in SLC had a similar experience this AM.

Postscript: The apartment house I’m writing about.

4 responses to this post.

  1. I had a similar experience this morning! I was awakened at 5 am with a phone call. After I got back into bed, I almost fell asleep until at 5:30 a bird started singing outside. I opened the french doors to nowhere to hear it better. It’s short song was crisp and clear. No traffic. It dawned on me to record it. So, I hopped out of bed and grabbed my phone. My sidekick can only record for 10 seconds, with a 3 second delay. In the few times I tried, I never got a good recording…then at 5:40 the cars started in earnest. I live near a major street in Salt Lake. After a bit of frustration, I reminded myself I like living in the city… even so, as I lay there in the dark, with a barely brightening sky, I could hear birds all over the neighborhood waking up and making noise.

    At least you still have your wonderful smells when you go on a walk. (You’re probably listening to some podcast anyway.) I have a similar experience on night-time runs. Running past yards, and gardens. Running through smells. My personal favorite is the smell of cottonwood trees and these few weeks of lilacs.


  2. Oy. Over the past year, they completely gutted and rebuilt the apartment buildings right next door. It’s right outside our bedroom window. Not only did we wake up at 7 every morning to heavy equipment, jack hammering, and regular hammering–they also blasted music. We have a one-year-old daughter. Needless to say, the noise could make naps difficult. On the bright side, we shouldn’t have to deal with something like that again for some time.


  3. I have a memory of burning trash, too. I grew up in a place as different from your hometown as it could be: 12k townies, 12k students in the town. One side of our house was on a dirt road, where the “burn barrel” was — a 55-gal drum where the our household’s trash was burned. I was teasing my brother by pretending to throw a plastic machine gun into the fire when I was about 8 and he was about 7, He went ballistic and pushed me, probably accidentally, into the side of the barrel. I wore a bandage all summer, and missed a year of swimming lessons, putting bro at the same level for the rest of our aquatic careers. Thanks for the memory, buddy. Yours was a nice little story.


  4. What I remember about growing up in my neighborhood was the sound of big ass rocket motors being tested and the occassional foundation shaking, glass shattering of a rocket engine blowing up in its hardstand about one half mile away.
    Every year , my mom would have to make new drapes, because the old ones had dissolved in the polluted smog of rocket exhaust.
    But maybe the strangest part of the Southern California aerospace industrial complex as your friendly neighbor was having your dad get you up in the middle of the night to dive to a good vantage point to see and hear the nuke test shots acrosss the line in Nevada. I remember seeing four or five of them. Impressive and frightening as hell.

    Jim Forbes


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