Don McCurdy Software developer in Cambridge, MA.

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.