Don McCurdy Software developer in Cambridge, MA.

Hi — I am a software developer on Google’s Access and Energy team, and an alum of Washington University in St. Louis.

I’m excited about web development, UI design, tools for understanding and visualizing data, and WebGL. More specifically, I want to create solutions for environmental and humanitarian issues. Let’s build something.

Twitter — @don_mccurdy
GitHub — @donmccurdy
Email — [email protected]

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For details on my work and involvement, see the Projects page.

Thanks for reading!

Recent Posts

Recommendations

A short list of things I enjoy, to be updated at undisclosed and inconsistent intervals.

Software

  • Sublime Text 3, with the Predawn theme and 30+ plugins, including GitGutter and SublimeLinter.
  • IA Writer, for writing anything that isn’t code.
  • Evernote, in place of web bookmarks.
  • Adobe Illustrator.

Books

  • A Path Appears, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.
  • The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway.
  • Frankenstein, Mary Shelley.
  • Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer.
  • Anything I’m currently reading.

Meta

Grayscale CSS and Bookmarklet

A bit of code that can be used to convert any webpage (or part of a page) to grayscale. Because accessibility!

CSS

body {
  /* IE */
  filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.BasicImage(grayscale=1);

  /* Chrome, Safari */
  -webkit-filter: grayscale(1);

  /* Firefox */
  filter: grayscale(1);
}

JavaScript

(function () {
  var body = document.body;
  body.style['filter'] = 'progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.BasicImage(grayscale=1)';
  if (!body.style['filter']) {
    body.style['-webkit-filter'] = 'grayscale(1)';
    body.style['filter'] = 'grayscale(1)';
  }
}());

Bookmarklet

javascript:(function(){var e=document.body;e.style.filter="progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.BasicImage(grayscale=1)",e.style.filter||(e.style["-webkit-filter"]="grayscale(1)",e.style.filter="grayscale(1)")}())

References

Using an iPhone with Google Cardboard

I haven’t heard much about iPhone users trying Google Cardboard, so this post is basically my way of saying “Oh hey, it works.”

And yeah. It does, assuming you have a large enough screen for a convincing field of view. iPhone 5/5S/6/6+ will be fine. iPhone 4/4S, probably not. (Sorry!)

What You’ll Need

A $25 Google Cardboard kit, or the materials to make one. If you decide to buy, DODOcase is a good option because they (1) explicitly fit iPhone 6/6+ and (2) include a little cardboard spacer to help with the 5/5S.

My DODOcase, after setup. My DODOcase, after setup.

If you’d rather make things yourself, start with Google’s instructions.

  • The lenses (biconvex, 45mm focal distance) are the least convenient part. A pair might cost $2-5 on eBay or $10 on Amazon.
  • Skip the NFC tag. It won’t do anything on the iPhone 6/6+ yet (just Apple reasons), and won’t work on the iPhone 5/5S ever (no NFC chip).

VR Demos and Games

Hopefully we’ll see more options on the App Store before too long, but there are definitely a few worth trying now. My favorites:

VRSE — Selection of VR films from Sundance Film Festival. One, Clouds Over Sidra, was created with the UN and gives a very unique look at a Syrian refugee camp.

A scene from "Clouds Over Sidra", one of the films in VRSE. A scene from Clouds Over Sidra, one of the films in VRSE.

Volvo Reality — Okay, this one might be an ad for the Volvo XC90. Whatever. The scenery is lovely, it’s a neat experience, and more content will be coming out episodically.

Volvo Reality Volvo Reality: a quick test drive to a weekend getaway.

You can also find WebVR (WebGL-based VR) content online, most of which should work equally well on iOS or Android. Google posted several interesting examples on the Chrome Experiments page.