Jill's Place

A life in progress, spent mostly in the kitchen

Archive for the category “Tech”

There’s a Woot-Off today

Just in case you didn’t know.  And wanted to know.  And all that . . .


I’m jumping on this with both feet

Lauren will love this.

Quote from Daily Grommet:

Tikatok is a free online community where kids under thirteen can write, illustrate, publish, and print their own books. Young authorscreate and save works using StorySparks interactive templates. (There’s no extra software to download.) Tikatok lets kids store works-in-progress in a private account and allows them to share stories with the community in a safe, parent-moderated environment. Kids’ identities are even protected with their own nom de plume!

Tikatok masterpieces can be emailed to friends, sent to Tikatok book clubs, or posted on blogs. Hard copies can be ordered for about $20 each. Best of all Tikatok connects budding storytellers and fosters a lifelong passion for reading. And they lived happily ever after. The end.

More details:

  • A free creative online community where kids can write and publish books
  • Write, Illustrate, Publish and Print your books
  • Share your books with the world: Your books live forever in the Tikatok library
  • Use the Tikatok interactive StorySparks™ templates to help create your story
  • Save your book within the book editor
  • Your book lives within the Tikatok website – there’s no software to download or install
  • Your book and your privacy are fully protected
  • Collaborate with your friends, write a book together
  • Allow 10-12 days after submitting edited book for printing and shipping


Hmmmmm.  It says something that a 3 year old can operate my iPhone.  Those Apple dudes and dudettes know a thing or two about a good UI.

That said, it also appears that 3 year olds can screw up my phone pretty well too.  Sam was playing a game on my phone earlier tonight, and when he went to bed, I put it in the charger.  I grabbed it a while later, because I hadn’t synced it in a while, and thought I’d do that this evening.  It was . . . messed up.  I shouldn’t really blame him, because I don’t know that he did anything to it.  But there we are – it’s farked now.

So I had to reset it, and now it’s syncing again.  I expect the order of my apps will be all messed up, so that should be fun to fix.  I have a lot of apps on there.  For the children, you know.  And yes, I am OCD enough to want them a particular way.


Don’t forget to vote!

The 2008 Weblog Awards

Lots of new blogs that I’m not familiar with this year, and some that are very interesting.  This is good.  Because what I really need is more stuff on my Netvibes page that I don’t have time to read now.  That would be fab.

I’ll find out when I’m older

L has been playing Animal Crossing on her DS endlessly. She wanted to make her house bigger in the game, and to do that, she had to pay off her mortgage. Mark was helping her figure that out, and we pick up the conversation from there.

“Hey, babe, do you know what a mortgage is?”

“Don’t tell me!! I’ll find out when I’m older!!!!!!”


It’s now official.

The iPhone can do everything.

Cool Mom Picks – A baby monitor for your iPhone? Sure. What the heck.

Making progress on the xmas shopping

Just picked up a Nintendo DS for Lauren, which she’s been wanting.  I didn’t want to pay the full price for one, because Dang!

Thanks to WantNot (you do have that feed in your rss reader, right?), I got one for a bargain, along with a game or two.  There should be one happy 8 year old on xmas morning.

Now, for Sam . . .  what do you get a boy who only cares about cars and trucks and trains and construction equipment, but has a rather small room that is already full of toys and books????

Oh, dammit

I Want Sandy is going away.  ACK!!!!!!!!

I had forgotten about this

Until I saw it just now in the comment form of a site.  I had heard about reCAPTCHA on NPR several weeks back, but then forgot about it.

It’s totally cool.  Here’s what it does:

reCAPTCHA is a free CAPTCHA service that helps to digitize books.

A CAPTCHA is a program that can tell whether its user is a human or a computer. You’ve probably seen them — colorful images with distorted text at the bottom of Web registration forms. CAPTCHAs are used by many websites to prevent abuse from “bots,” or automated programs usually written to generate spam. No computer program can read distorted text as well as humans can, so bots cannot navigate sites protected by CAPTCHAs.

About 60 million CAPTCHAs are solved by humans around the world every day. In each case, roughly ten seconds of human time are being spent. Individually, that’s not a lot of time, but in aggregate these little puzzles consume more than 150,000 hours of work each day. What if we could make positive use of this human effort? reCAPTCHA does exactly that by channeling the effort spent solving CAPTCHAs online into “reading” books.

. . .

reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher. More specifically, each word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is placed on an image and used as a CAPTCHA. This is possible because most OCR programs alert you when a word cannot be read correctly.

But if a computer can’t read such a CAPTCHA, how does the system know the correct answer to the puzzle? Here’s how: Each new word that cannot be read correctly by OCR is given to a user in conjunction with another word for which the answer is already known. The user is then asked to read both words. If they solve the one for which the answer is known, the system assumes their answer is correct for the new one. The system then gives the new image to a number of other people to determine, with higher confidence, whether the original answer was correct.

Currently, we are helping to digitize books from the Internet Archive and old editions of the New York Times.

How completely great is that???  Also, don’t forget to check out Mailhide if your email address is posted publicly on your website or wherever.

How in the world did I miss this?

goodreads looks too, too cool

Have you ever wanted a better way to:

  • see what your friends are reading?
  • keep track of what you’ve read and what you’d like to read?
  • get great book recommendations from people you know?

Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. Imagine it as a large
library that you can wander through and see everyone’s bookshelves,
their reviews, and their ratings. You can also post your own reviews
and catalog what you have read, are currently reading, and plan to read
in the future. Don’t stop there – join a discussion group, start a book
club, contact an author, and even post your own writing.

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