Monthly Archives: December 2008

Beer and Homebrewing Podcasts

Podcasts are great for commuting. You get fresh content regularly, on almost any topic out there. I hardly ever listen to music on my iPod, since the only time I really ever listen to music is when I'm at work, and that is really just to help drown out distractions around me.

So, about half of the podcasts I subscribe to are beer-related, and half of those are homebrewing specific. Here is a listing of what I subscribe to. If you know of any other good ones, please let me know.

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Big Brother on the Orange Line

Big Brother on the Orange Line

I got on the Orange Line (one of Boston's subway lines) yesterday, and noticed this little guy watching me. There was one watching the inside of each door, and one looking either direction down the car from the center (there are three doors on each side of the car, so 8 cameras total, per car). Not all cars have these cameras, so I imagine they are testing them in some cars, or slowly rolling them out. I noticed them in cars numbered 01214 and 01248.

I wonder what prompted this, or is it just part of the general trend to watch everyone, at all times? Does anyone watch this live? Is it even recorded? Is it just for Panopticon effect?

At a time when the MBTA is massively in debt, this kind of surveillance is not cheap, especially with 8 cameras per car. I don't see this helping catch fare evaders. Are violent crimes on the subway very common? I've never seen or heard of any (though I have certainly heard of shootings on the busses). I doubt the transit police would bother even reviewing the tapes (let alone, install the system) for non-violent crimes, like pick-pockets.

Is this meant to catch those people that molest women in crowded subways? How would the camera see what was happening if it was that crowded?

Or is this all just more money spent to give us the illusion of security and safety?

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Customize Firebug shortcut keys

For a web developer, Firebug is indispensable for debugging javascript and CSS. Like any good debugger, it supports shortcut keys to control the execution (step in, step over, step out, and resume). Firebug's keys (by default) are as follows:

  • F8 - Resume
  • F10 - Step Over
  • F11 - Step In
  • Shift-F11 - Step Out

However, these keys are not configurable. They may conflict with other shortcut keys in your system. They may not be the same as other keys you have already learned (eg, the keys in Eclipse). In my case, I found myself reaching for F5 - F8, which are the shortcut keys for Eclipse. Also, the Firebug keys conflict with the default Exposé keys in OS X. (Yes, I know I could change those shortcuts, but I've grown accustomed to their defaults.)

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