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11 Internet Tattoos

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While I may be a tattooed professional blogger, I’ve never been driven to get a tattoo of something related to the internet—especially given how fast things fizzle out online. These folks don’t seem to mind the short shelf-life of most websites, though. Here are 11 people with internet-related tattoos.

1. Reddit Star Wars

You knew someone out there had to have a Reddit tattoo. Well, in case you’re wondering, that person happens to be Fernando Takai and his Reddit logo is all decked out like a Jedi—making it way more fun and geeky than a regular Reddit alien would have been. Like practically everyone else on this list, he too works online.

2. Google It

Here’s a tattoo my boyfriend would love to have for all those times I ask him random questions that even Matt Soniak wouldn’t know off the top of his head. I don’t know who artist Mez Love tattooed this piece on, but I can’t help but wonder if the gentleman in question has a girlfriend who asks him weird, random questions as well.

3. Powered By Google

Josh Charland is a PC tech who knows just how important a good search engine is, which is why he wanted the world to know that everything in his life is Powered By Google.

4. iGoogle

Of course, Google isn’t just about searching for info on the web; it’s also about customizing and organizing the web to best suit your own personal interests. Perhaps that’s why IT pro Ivan Morrison wanted to adorn his right shoulder with the logo for Google’s personalized homepage, iGoogle.

5. Blogger

Violet Blue is a blogger specializing in human sexuality. She loves her job enough to actually get a tattoo of her job title.

6. WordPress

Ed Morita is a Hawaii-based blogger specializing in the topic of baking, which makes sense since he is also a skilled pastry chef. Like Violet, Ed wanted to celebrate his line of work with a tattoo and the end result is particularly nerdy, featuring the WordPress logo surrounded by a PC motherboard. For those who don’t know much about blogging, WordPress is one of the most popular blogging software options around.

7. RSS Headphones

Blogger Drew Olanoff is best known for his recent fight against cancer, but he is also well known for his tattoos. Why? Because he actually auctioned off the opportunity for someone to get their Twitter name tattooed on his arm –with all of the money donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A year later, and after he battled cancer for himself, he auctioned off space on the other arm, this time donating money to the Livestrong Foundation.

Of course, while both of those are geeky and for great causes, I think it’s worth noting that even some of the tattoos he has gotten outside of charity auctions are still internet-related, like this RSS feed icon with headphones to represent his interest in podcasting.

8. Rackspace

Michael Long is a long-term employee of the Rackspace web hosting service. To prove his dedication to his company, he even got its logo tattooed on his left arm. Now that’s loyalty.

9. Threadless’ Cutter Fish

One of the most common arguments against tattoos is that if you like some artwork, you can always just get a tee shirt bearing the design and then you can remove it when you get tired of it. Of course, for true tattoo lovers, not only is that not enough, but sometimes they may even like a tee shirt design enough to get it tattooed on their bodies. For example, this Canadian gentleman who was tattooed with the image from Threadless’ Cutter Fish design.

10. Internets Love

Joe Stump is a web developer who has worked with eNotes.com, Digg and is co-founder of SimpleGeo. Given his career path, Joe clearly loves the interwebs—and he has the tattoo to prove it.

11. Internet

Rafael Rozendaal is a graphic artist who creates and designs websites, so it’s not all that surprising that he, too, loves the internet enough to get it inked on him.
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I didn’t see any mental_floss tattoos, but if any of you diehard fans out there decide to get one, let us know. We promise to feature you prominently in the inevitable sequel.

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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva
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Man Buys Two Metric Tons of LEGO Bricks; Sorts Them Via Machine Learning
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iStock // Ekaterina Minaeva

Jacques Mattheij made a small, but awesome, mistake. He went on eBay one evening and bid on a bunch of bulk LEGO brick auctions, then went to sleep. Upon waking, he discovered that he was the high bidder on many, and was now the proud owner of two tons of LEGO bricks. (This is about 4400 pounds.) He wrote, "[L]esson 1: if you win almost all bids you are bidding too high."

Mattheij had noticed that bulk, unsorted bricks sell for something like €10/kilogram, whereas sets are roughly €40/kg and rare parts go for up to €100/kg. Much of the value of the bricks is in their sorting. If he could reduce the entropy of these bins of unsorted bricks, he could make a tidy profit. While many people do this work by hand, the problem is enormous—just the kind of challenge for a computer. Mattheij writes:

There are 38000+ shapes and there are 100+ possible shades of color (you can roughly tell how old someone is by asking them what lego colors they remember from their youth).

In the following months, Mattheij built a proof-of-concept sorting system using, of course, LEGO. He broke the problem down into a series of sub-problems (including "feeding LEGO reliably from a hopper is surprisingly hard," one of those facts of nature that will stymie even the best system design). After tinkering with the prototype at length, he expanded the system to a surprisingly complex system of conveyer belts (powered by a home treadmill), various pieces of cabinetry, and "copious quantities of crazy glue."

Here's a video showing the current system running at low speed:

The key part of the system was running the bricks past a camera paired with a computer running a neural net-based image classifier. That allows the computer (when sufficiently trained on brick images) to recognize bricks and thus categorize them by color, shape, or other parameters. Remember that as bricks pass by, they can be in any orientation, can be dirty, can even be stuck to other pieces. So having a flexible software system is key to recognizing—in a fraction of a second—what a given brick is, in order to sort it out. When a match is found, a jet of compressed air pops the piece off the conveyer belt and into a waiting bin.

After much experimentation, Mattheij rewrote the software (several times in fact) to accomplish a variety of basic tasks. At its core, the system takes images from a webcam and feeds them to a neural network to do the classification. Of course, the neural net needs to be "trained" by showing it lots of images, and telling it what those images represent. Mattheij's breakthrough was allowing the machine to effectively train itself, with guidance: Running pieces through allows the system to take its own photos, make a guess, and build on that guess. As long as Mattheij corrects the incorrect guesses, he ends up with a decent (and self-reinforcing) corpus of training data. As the machine continues running, it can rack up more training, allowing it to recognize a broad variety of pieces on the fly.

Here's another video, focusing on how the pieces move on conveyer belts (running at slow speed so puny humans can follow). You can also see the air jets in action:

In an email interview, Mattheij told Mental Floss that the system currently sorts LEGO bricks into more than 50 categories. It can also be run in a color-sorting mode to bin the parts across 12 color groups. (Thus at present you'd likely do a two-pass sort on the bricks: once for shape, then a separate pass for color.) He continues to refine the system, with a focus on making its recognition abilities faster. At some point down the line, he plans to make the software portion open source. You're on your own as far as building conveyer belts, bins, and so forth.

Check out Mattheij's writeup in two parts for more information. It starts with an overview of the story, followed up with a deep dive on the software. He's also tweeting about the project (among other things). And if you look around a bit, you'll find bulk LEGO brick auctions online—it's definitely a thing!

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iStock
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Why Your iPhone Doesn't Always Show You the 'Decline Call' Button
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When you get an incoming call to your iPhone, the options that light up your screen aren't always the same. Sometimes you have the option to decline a call, and sometimes you only see a slider that allows you to answer, without an option to send the caller straight to voicemail. Why the difference?

A while back, Business Insider tracked down the answer to this conundrum of modern communication, and the answer turns out to be fairly simple.

If you get a call while your phone is locked, you’ll see the "slide to answer" button. In order to decline the call, you have to double-tap the power button on the top of the phone.

If your phone is unlocked, however, the screen that appears during an incoming call is different. You’ll see the two buttons, "accept" or "decline."

Either way, you get the options to set a reminder to call that person back or to immediately send them a text message. ("Dad, stop calling me at work, it’s 9 a.m.!")

[h/t Business Insider]

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