How To Make Websites

Do you want to make a website, but don't know how to do all the techie stuff...or know just enough to make a super-crappy site? If that's you, check out Don't Fear the Internet, a video series that teaches you basic HTML and CSS, using a Wordpress blog as the basis for your new website. (HTML and CSS are two of those mildly techie things you'll learn. It won't be hard. Heck, I'm typing HTML in Wordpress right now!)

Here's the trailer to give you a sense for how low-key this thing is (the "girl and guy" are Jessica Hische and Russ Maschmeyer):

And here's the first real installment (great quote: "If we never closed our tag, the rest of our lives would be lived in a permanent state of 'lunch.'"):

I really enjoyed this intro paragraph shown above each video on their site:

Are you a print designer, photographer, fine-artist, or general creative person? Do you have a [expletive]y website that you slapped together yourself in Dreamweaver in that ONE web design class that you took in college? Do you not have a site at all because you've been waiting two years for your cousin to put it together for you? Well, we're here to help. We know that you have little to no desire to do web design professionally, but that doesn't mean that you want an ugly cookie-cutter site or to settle for one that hasn't been updated since Hackers was in theaters. Through short tutorial videos, you'll learn how to take a basic wordpress blog and manipulate the css, html (and even some php!) to match your aesthetic. You'll feel empowered rather than crippled by the internet and worst case scenario you'll at least end up having a better idea of how professional web designers turn your design dreams into a reality on screen.

Find it all at Don't Fear the Internet. Start at the bottom.

(Via Laughing Squid.)

IBM Unveils the World's Smallest Computer

The latest piece of technology to be zapped by the shrink ray of progress was recently revealed during IBM Think 2018, the computer giant’s conference that offers a sneak preview of its latest hardware. According to Mashable, IBM’s newest computer is so small that it could disappear inside a salt shaker.

An IBM computer on a motherboard and atop a pile of salt

That tiny black speck on the right? That’s the one. (It's mounted to a motherboard on the upper left of the left photo.) IBM claims the computer has several thousand transistors and has roughly the same kind of operating power as a processor from 1990. While that may not sound impressive, any kind of artificial intelligence in a product that small could have big implications for data management. IBM believes it has a future in blockchain applications, which track shipments, theft, and non-compliance. Its tiny stature means it can be embedded into materials discreetly.

As an example, IBM noted that the processor could be injected into a non-toxic magnetic ink, which can then be stamped on a prescription drug. One drop of water could make the ink visible, letting someone know it’s authentic and safe to take.

The tiny little motherboard and its processors are still in the prototype stages, but IBM predicts it could cost less than 10 cents to manufacture. The company hopes it will be commercially available in the next 18 months.

[h/t Mashable]

Apple Wants to Patent a Keyboard You’re Allowed to Spill Coffee On

In the future, eating and drinking near your computer keyboard might not be such a dangerous game. On March 8, Apple filed a patent application for a keyboard designed to prevent liquids, crumbs, dust, and other “contaminants” from getting inside, Dezeen reports.

Apple has previously filed several patents—including one announced on March 15—surrounding the idea of a keyless keyboard that would work more like a trackpad or a touchscreen, using force-sensitive technology instead of mechanical keys. The new anti-crumb keyboard patent that Apple filed, however, doesn't get into the specifics of how the anti-contamination keyboard would work. It isn’t a patent for a specific product the company is going to debut anytime soon, necessarily, but a patent for a future product the company hopes to develop. So it’s hard to say how this extra-clean keyboard might work—possibly because Apple hasn’t fully figured that out yet. It’s just trying to lay down the legal groundwork for it.

Here’s how the patent describes the techniques the company might use in an anti-contaminant keyboard:

"These mechanisms may include membranes or gaskets that block contaminant ingress, structures such as brushes, wipers, or flaps that block gaps around key caps; funnels, skirts, bands, or other guard structures coupled to key caps that block contaminant ingress into and/or direct containments away from areas under the key caps; bellows that blast contaminants with forced gas out from around the key caps, into cavities in a substrate of the keyboard, and so on; and/or various active or passive mechanisms that drive containments away from the keyboard and/or prevent and/or alleviate containment ingress into and/or through the keyboard."

Thanks to a change in copyright law in 2011, the U.S. now gives ownership of an idea to the person who first files for a patent, not the person with the first working prototype. Apple is especially dogged about applying for patents, filing plenty of patents each year that never amount to much.

Still, they do reveal what the company is focusing on, like foldable phones (the subject of multiple patents in recent years) and even pizza boxes for its corporate cafeteria. Filing a lot of patents allows companies like Apple to claim the rights to intellectual property for technology the company is working on, even when there's no specific invention yet.

As The New York Times explained in 2012, “patent applications often try to encompass every potential aspect of a new technology,” rather than a specific approach. (This allows brands to sue competitors if they come out with something similar, as Apple has done with Samsung, HTC, and other companies over designs the company views as ripping off iPhone technology.)

That means it could be a while before we see a coffee-proof keyboard from Apple, if the company comes out with one at all. But we can dream.

[h/t Dezeen]


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