Programmer T-Shirts for Good Causes

Andy Brice has created some t-shirt designs for software developers and selling the shirts online for a good cause. The proceeds from sales of the t-shirts, some of whose designs are pictured below, will go to two worthy charities: and

If you’ve got a programmer on your holiday list – or even if you just want one of these shirts for yourself, please buy one. The money’s going to some very good causes.


About the Charities

jaipurfoot This organization pioneered the “Jaipur foot” (also known as the “Jaipur leg”) – an effective and easy-to-fit prosthetic lower limb that can be produced for a little as $30 and is provided for free by the charity. The prosthetic was first developed in the 1960s by an orthopedic surgeon and a sculptor. Since then the charity has provided over 300,000 limbs in 22 countries. In the television program a young boy arrived at the clinic hopping on one leg and left running on two, beaming. It was moving to watch. You can read more in this Time magazine article.


Sightsavers works to alleviate sight problems around the world. Last year Sightsavers and their partners treated more than 23 million people for potentially blinding conditions and restored sight to over 244,000 people. It only costs:

  • $0.10 to protect someone from river blindness for a year.
  • $10 to pay for eyelid surgery for trachoma.
  • $35 for an adult cataract operation.

[This article was also posted on my tech blog, Global Nerdy.]


Papercraft HAL 9000

If you’ve got a colour printer with decent paper, scissors and glue, you can make these papercraft HAL 9000s:


You can download the kit here. The instructions are in Japanese and “Engrish”, but you’re smart people. I know you can figure it out.

[This article was also posted on my tech blog, Global Nerdy.]


McGriddles: A Review

Yesterday, I had an assignment that took me to the University of Waterloo, which is somewhere between an hour and an a hour and a half’s drive west of Accordion City, depending on traffic and weather. I decided to hold off on breakfast and leave a little earlier than I’d planned, just in case the weather – which has decided to give us the full winter treatment a month ahead of schedule – took a turn for the worse.

While the day was cloudy, it didn’t snow, and traffic moved along the 401 at a decent clip, giving me time to pull over for a quick breakfast. I’d planned on doing the Canadian Thing and stopping for something at Tim Horton’s, but the roadside stop I found had a McDonald’s instead. Rather than go back on the road and start a possibly time-consuming search for Tim’s, I decided to make do and grab a McBreakfast of some kind.

I rarely eat at McDonald’s, and when I do, it’s usually breakfast when I’m on the road or on a business trip and there isn’t anything else nearby. On these occasions, I usually go with the Sausage McMuffin with egg. However, since I’ve been on a conscious “try new things” kick ranging from little changes in my daily routine to a career at The Evil Empire, I thought I’d try something I’d never had before: the McGriddle. It’s the featured item in McDonald’s breakfast combo number 7, pictured below:

Click the photo to see it at full size.

For those of you who are blissfully unaware of the McGriddle, it’s a breakfast sandwich made up of “bread” made of something that approximates pancakes flavoured with syrup and various centres. Breakfast combo number 7’s McGriddle has sausage, eggs and cheese and comes with a hash brown and medium coffee.

Here’s a closer look at my McGriddle:

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Yes, that’s the “golden arches” logo embossed into the McGriddle. You have to give McDonald’s credit for seizing a branding opportunity that others would’ve missed.

Truth be told, it’s better than I expected it would be. If you’re the kind of person who likes pancakes and sausage and likes to pour syrup on both the pancakes and the sausage like I do, you’ll find it’s a decent junk food approximation. It still has that certain overprocessed, hyper-enhanced flavour that screams “McDonalds”. It’s a certain “junkiness” that suggests that it’s like dating the cute but completely certifiably crazy girl in college: try it once, just for the experience, but nothing more.

It’s junk food, but how “junky: is it? Here’s its nutritional info:

  • Serving Size 7 oz (199.0 g)
  • Calories: 560
  • Calories from Fat: 288
  • Total Fat: 32.0g (49% of your recommended daily value)
  • Saturated Fat: 11.0g (55% of your recommended daily value)
  • Cholesterol: 260mg (87% of your recommended daily value)
  • Sodium: 1290mg (54% of your recommended daily value)
  • Total Carbohydrates: 48.0g (16% of your recommended daily value)
  • Dietary Fiber": 1.0g (4% of your recommended daily value)
  • Sugars: 16.0g
  • Protein: 21.0g
  • Vitamin A: 0% of your recommended daily value
  • Vitamin C: 0% of your recommended daily value
  • Calcium: 2% of your recommended daily value
  • Iron: 83% of your recommended daily value

Well, that explains the satisfying high-fat feeling I had after eating it. At least it’s got lots of protein and iron. Although this is breakfast for hundreds of thousands of people – perhaps millions – every day, I don’t think I’ll be eating another one of these very soon.


Using the Hell Out of Your Digital Camera

I got this Nikon Coolpix P6000 assigned to me.
I’ll do a writeup on it in a future article. has a great article featuring “10 camera tips not really related to photography” which covers some interesting uses for a digital camera that may not have occurred to you.

The photo above shows tip #1: take a photo of your contact info so that your camera can be returned to you if it’s lost. Many cameras have a feature that lets you lock a photo so it’s can’t be deleted; make your “This camera belongs to” photo the first shot on your card and lock it.

(Yeah, that’s my real mobile phone number and work email address. In the world of anti-spam, email rules and caller ID, I’m not too worried about handing out that info.)

You should check out the article for the full details, but for those of you who want a quick summary of the other interesting uses for a digital camera, they are:

  • A portable map device if you don’t have a GPS, iPhone or similar gadget
  • Remembering where you parked (especially if you’re not going to return to your car for some time, such as with airport long-term parking)
  • Remembering how something was assembled before you dismantle it for repair
  • Taking note of the licence plate of the guy who parked uncomfortably close to your car
  • A quick photocopier to take a copy of a couple of pages from a book or magazine with info that you might need while out
  • To cover your ass
  • To remember what’s on the menu at Chinese take-out
  • A quick way of jotting down the ingredients in a recipe so you know what to buy at the grocery
  • A better way of doing the “dent check” when you first take possession of a rental car
  • A mirror

If you can think up any other interesting uses for a digital camera – perhaps some that make use of the video recording feature – post them in the comments!

[This article also appears in my tech blog, Global Nerdy.]


“Dude, I’m a Drug Dog”

Be thankful you don’t have this dog’s current assignment:

Click the photo to see it at full size/
Photo courtesy of Miss Fipi Lele.


Vatican Forgives Lennon

Home Simpson shows Bart and Lisa the Be Sharps album "Bigger Than Jesus"

I think it’s rather sporting of them:

The Vatican’s newspaper has finally forgiven John Lennon for declaring that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ, calling the remark a "boast" by a young man grappling with sudden fame.

"The remark by John Lennon, which triggered deep indignation mainly in the United States, after many years sounds only like a ‘boast’ by a young working-class Englishman faced with unexpected success, after growing up in the legend of Elvis and rock and roll," Vatican daily Osservatore Romano said.

The article, marking the 40th anniversary of the Beatles’ The White Album, went on to praise the pop band.

"The fact remains that 38 years after breaking up, the songs of the Lennon-McCartney brand have shown an extraordinary resistance to the passage of time, becoming a source of inspiration for more than one generation of pop musicians," it said.

There’s still no word on whether or not Paul McCartney will be forgiven for a lot of his post-Wings stuff, especially the phoned-in Wonderful Christmastime. Some things are just too big.



Emily Gould

How’d I miss this? Here’s an article – Exposed — from the May 25th, 2008 edition of the New York Times Magazine about one blogger’s experiences and the lines that you can cross while writing blogging, both personally and professionally. It covers some issues to keep in mind when writing in a forum that can be accessed far and wide.

[This article was also posted to my tech blog, Global Nerdy.]