World’s Largest Pool

I want to go San Alfonso del Mar in Chile. Why? Because it has the World’s Largest Pool.

Completed in December 2006 after five years of planning and construction, the pool cost about $1.5 billion (in U.S. dollars) to build, covers more than 19 acres of surface area, holds about 66 million gallons, and offers transparent waters down to a depth of 115 feet.

The numbers just don’t provide the scope you need, so let google show you some pictures.

Reading Lines Using Java

Every year or so, for whatever reason, I end-up trying to read text files line by line using Java. I always start out thinking regular expressions, and it always starts to look unnecessarily convoluted.

Three or four years ago I came across BufferedReader and, whatdya know, its got the function readLine. Of course, each time I start anew, I forget the lessons I’ve previously learned. Then, when the code’s starting to look rough, I remember “Oh yeah, there’s a really easy way to do this.” So I find the old code and voilĂ .

I realize this is simple stuff. It’s just one of those things that’s worth putting out there for the occasional search result that might help someone out .

/* Note that I've left out exception handling. */
ArrayList<String> lines = new ArrayList<String>();
File file = new File("C:\path\to\file.txt");
BufferedReader reader = new BufferedReader(new FileReader(file));
String line;
while((line = bufferedReader.readLine()) != null)

Useless Automated Information Gathering (aka Telephone Customer Service)

I’ve got a debit card transaction showing up that I most definitely did not make. It’s nothing too serious or sinister. There are no identity thieves or russian mobsters involved. I spoke with the merchant and was told the transaction would be canceled (it was still in “pending” limbo), but today I checked and it had actually posted to my account. So I called Visa.
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A Composite Cover

David Drummond designs book covers and, oh yeah, he has a blog. He’ll usually add some comments about the design and maybe even one or two alternatives that didn’t make the cut. In my mind, this is almost like a type of goal oriented art. Which is what I suppose alot of advertising and illustration is as well.

Well, anyway, I was looking through a couple recent entries using his site’s feed, and one of them I thought was just plain cool in that he created it on the cheap using different images from Shutterstock. I quickly hopped over here to link to it when I noticed that the link doesn’t actually work. I’m looking at his post in Google Reader, but when I follow the link to his blogspot account, that page is gone. I’m not sure what that means exactly. Maybe there was some mixup or he decided to delete it. Thankfully it was already pulled down via the various feed readers out there, so I’ve uploaded them here. Check out the brilliant work of David Drummond below.
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Thom Gossom and Auburn Football Segregation

There is a must read article in the War Eagle Reader about Thom Gossom.

He was a star on the one stage our mutual home state of Alabama continues to care about above all others, but at a time when the spotlight of that humid autumn sun really brought out the color in your skin. Thom Gossom was the second black football player at the first Division I school in Alabama to break the gridiron’s color barrier.

That school was not the University of Alabama.

It’s the story of segregation in the south viewed, at one level, through the filter of college football, but at another through the personal stories of Mr. Gossom. It’s a long article so, if you don’t have much time right now, at the very least go read the opening story.

He is writing an autobiography titled Walk-On: My Reluctant Journey to Integration at Auburn University. He talks a bit about it in this interview on YouTube, where he mentions that it’s coming out in August, but the War Eagle Reader says September 9. I’m not having any luck tracking it down though.

Oh, also, Thom Gossom has since become a pretty successful actor.

Sex and Lists

Most of us are by now fully aware that sex sells (slightly NSFW). The animalistic instinct is always operating in the background, eager to influence our purchasing decisions. In addition, it has become pretty well acknowledged in blogtopia that lists help drive traffic to your site (did you follow the first link of this post?).

I now direct you towards the mother of all traffic binging posts. The ingeniously devised packet vacuuming blog entry that is 10 Movies Sold on a Sex Scene.

What’s in the Box?

Looking through the CodeIgniter site (very cool…be sure to check out their two video tutorials), I came across a link to something pretty novel: Clever Andy. It’s a business that allows you to upload a site design. If they find it acceptable, and know of a potential client, they put in all of the leg work to get that design fully implemented and (hopefully) sold. You get 25% of the sale price. Pretty neat, eh?

Fuel Your Creativity posted about this a month ago and one of the commenters expressed some doubts, one of which was proof of its effectiveness. Lee Tengum (the man behind Clever Andy) responded:

…we have already moved some user submitted designs to production so you will see proof soon!

Assuming success stories are made available, this seems like a great resource for designers out there looking to cash in on some of their unused work.

The Squid’s Big Day

Karina at SpoutBlog relayed the Flickr set of a Star Wars themed wedding. Now, I’m all for doing it up. If going all out for your wedding means dressing up Star Wars style, more power to ya.

But seriously, if it were you….if you are the groom, this is your wedding, and you have to pick a Star Wars costume, would you choose to be a Mon Calamari?

Mon Calamari

Would you cover your face during your wedding ceremony so that when your future offspring view mommy and daddy’s wedding day pictures, they have to ask “Why is dad wearing a squid mask?”

Redefining Woolie

Did you think woolie had something to do with clothes or sheep? Not anymore, for it hath been redefunned.

The Big Word Project is a website to be set in your “my brain no ideas make” bag alongside The Million Dollar Homepage. The nuts and bolts of it is this: you pay a buck a letter to buy any valid word from them, and their site will link to your site using that word. I’ll let Paddy and Lee run a use-case by you:

For example, you may buy the word ‘Donkey’ for $6 and it will link to your site dedicated to donkeys. The word ‘Donkey’ will then be the gateway to your site and the definition will be changed. No longer will the word Donkey mean ‘a woodworking apparatus consisting of a clamping frame and saw, used for cutting marquetry veneers’, instead it will now be represented visually by ‘Chris’s Donkey Site’.

I bought woolie. Like donkey, it’s a six dollar investment. Here’s my badge:

What’s funny about all this is that I had a pretty strong desire to buy the word. There was, of course, the powerful incentive to experiment with link purchasing, and I’m sure that was the push that put me over the top. But there was also a strange need to buy it…some weird send of ownership I had to fulfill.

Kudos to the guys behind this. Great idea.

Firebug’s Future

Firebug is a fantastic tool. It works as an add-on to Firefox and can be used for all sorts of fun stuff. It is a javascript debugger (breakpoints, variables and watch expressions). It can also be used to “inspect” whatever web page you happen to be visiting (hover over areas of the page to see its corresponding HTML and CSS). It’ll even profile the javascript.

The original author, Joe Hewitt, open sourced Firebug sometime last year and back in mid-July, John Resig (a well-known javascript guru and Mozilla employee) announced that he was taking over its development. Today he laid out his initial plans:

  • Improve the knowledge of Firebug that we have
  • Build a runnable set of test cases to prevent regressions
  • Track the state of Firebug performance
  • Audit and Improve

I can’t wait to see how Firebug evolves now that Resig has reign.

Available Online: When Print Has No Space for Content

Dr. Dobb’s Journal is a pretty well-known magazine geared towards software engineers, and they’ve been at it for more than thirty years. The articles are generally pretty hit or miss for my taste. I was just reading the August 2008 print edition, specifically Disentangling Concepts in Object-Oriented Systems. It’s pretty meh in my opinion, but that’s neither here nor there. The problem I found is something I’ve come across before in this magazine, but this time it was just plain absurd.
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A New Face for Privacy

I a little late with this but it is just too cool not to share. Kevin Kelly has some great examples of a new technique to obscure the identity of people who happen to appear in pictures of public spaces. Software is used to replace different areas of a given face using a “stock” library of other faces. The results are freaky cool.
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