Posts

Showing posts from July 28, 2019

Behind the Scenes of Translating Samantha Cristoforetti’s Logbook

Image
From July 2013 to September 2015 ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti posted to her Google+ profile hundreds of entries of the Logbook, a mostly daily journal of the training and space flight for her first mission to space.

The Logbook is a unique resource and public outreach project, likely the most extensive such account by any astronaut. For example, on launch day she shared her thoughts just hours before riding a rocket and blasting into space. No astronaut had ever done that.


Samantha is an European astronaut and, although her home country is Italy, she wrote the Logbook in English for reaching a wider audience. I had the privilege and opportunity of providing the official Italian translation of all the Logbook entries, which were published to the AstronautiNEWS website and later also to ESA’s Avamposto 42 mission website.

Following so closely Samantha’s training and space flight from her direct account was as much an adventure for me as it was living it for her. Here are some be…

The Bezel Is Back Thanks to the Pixel 4 Tech

The tech press is finally starting to question some hyped and ugly smartphone design choices such as the notch, cutouts, and bezel-less designs.

Now, as Google teases more and more features of the upcoming Pixel 4, Ben Schoon over at 9to5Google finally says loud and clear the bezel is more than justified by the technology it packs. In the Pixel 4 the bezel can not only improve the design of the device, but provides a home for a lot of valuable sensors and technology.

The History of the Web, Volume I

Image
I love the book The History of the Web, Volume I by Jay Hoffmann. It’s a collection of essays from the author’s newsletter The History of the Web.


Although I’ve been using and closely following the web since its early days, and used or visited several of the tools and sites Jay tells about, I’ve found many things and projects in the book I wasn’t aware of back then. It covers the history of the web from many angles such as the technology, the software, the infrastructure, the protocols, the communities, the spirit of experimentation, and more.

The book is based on solid, in-depth research and gives a concise but complete account of the projects and events it discusses.

My Brain Is My Ad Blocker

These days ad blockers are used mostly for improving privacy, security, performance, and resource control.

But, when it comes to their primary purpose of blocking ads and advertising content, I don’t need these tools. I have been using the web since the early 1990s, when the first annoying and disruptive ads started spreading. And I’ve been doing such a deliberate effort to ignore them it eventually became second nature. When I visit a web page, my brain instinctively forces my eyes to tune out any areas with anything resembling advertising content, especially animations.

This avoidance is so effective I don’t notice ads even on the sites I want to support by checking anything to click I’m genuinely interested in. I invariably forget and move to the next site.

Although I don’t have true ad blockers, I do occasionally use a tool for reading pages with highly distracting or disruptive content, including ads.

It’s the Mercury Reader Chrome extension, a reader mode option that reformats a…

The Chrome OS Shutdown Dialog

Image
Chrome OS is pretty robust and rarely crashes. I always use the shutdown option in the status area to turn off my devices. So I missed the relatively new, Android-like shutdown dialog you get when long-pressing the power button of a Chromebook or another Chrome OS device, for example along with pressing the reload button (F3 on an external keyboard) to force a shutdown.

Here’s what the dialog looks like on the screen of my ASUS Chromebox 3. Although the system language is set to Italian you’ll easily recognize the icons.


There are options for turning off the system (Spegni), signing out of the account (Esci), and locking the session (Blocca). The dialog is another Android feature brought to Chrome OS.