This pilot fish working for a large aerospace and defense contractor finds the time reporting onerous, and the reason is not a badge of honor for the company. It had gotten into a bit of trouble for telling employees to add cost overruns from fixed-price contracts to cost-plus contracts.
Since the government doesn’t like being bilked, the company had to refund a lot of money and implement new time-tracking and -reporting procedures.
Codes had to be looked up, and fish can easily spend more than a quarter of an hour per day just entering his time. Since the reporting is done in increments of 15 minutes, he asks what the charge code is for entering time. Too soon. No one appreciated the humor.
Some time after that, there is an edict: Don’t report unpaid overtime. Employees have learned that all their time has to be accounted for, so they’re entering extra hours that they worked but didn’t get paid for. That made HR and legal nervous, and thus the crackdown.
Unwanted side effect: Everyone wanted staff to do their work during that unpaid overtime, so it wouldn’t be charged to their contract.
Working at a research facility affiliated with a U.S. government hospital, this pilot fish becomes acquainted with ICD-9 codes for the statistical classification of diseases.
But it bothers him that the codes allow for reporting an issue but not for reporting resolution: There’s a code for having high blood pressure, but none for returning to normal, and there’s a code for a broken right wrist, but none to indicate that it has healed.
So in a review meeting with the researchers, fish asks about their assumptions: “Since there is no ICD-9 for ‘no longer has high blood pressure,’ how do we differentiate the two conditions, just-not-taking-medicine and no-longer-needs-medicine?”
After some discussion, one of the MDs speaks the sad truth: “In my 10 years of clinical practice, I’ve had maybe one person make the required lifestyle changes to get off those medications.”
Once you’ve started dabbling in HTML, you’ll probably be interested in adding more power to your web pages. CSS is the best way to do that. CSS lets you apply changes across your entire page without relying on inline styling.
Here are several simple CSS examples to show you how to make some basic styling changes on your web page.
1. Basic CSS Code for Easy Paragraph Formatting
Styling with CSS means you don’t have to specify a style every time you create an element. You can just say “all paragraphs should have this particular styling” and you’re good to go.
Let’s say you want every paragraph (<p>, one of the HTML tags everyone should know) to be slightly larger than usual. And dark grey text, instead of black. The CSS code for this is:
Simple! Now, whenever the browser renders a paragraph, the text will inherit the size (120 percent of normal) and color (“dimgray”).
If you’re curious as to which plain-text colors you can use, check out this CSS color list from Mozilla.
2. Change Letter Case
Want to create a designation for paragraphs that should be in small caps? A CSS sample for that would be:
To make a paragraph that’s entirely in small caps, we’ll use a slightly different HTML tag. Here’s what it looks like:
<p class="smallcaps">Your paragraph here.</p>
Adding a dot and a class name to an element specifies a sub-type of that element defined by a class. You can do this with text, images, links, and just about anything else.
If you want to change the case of a set of text to a specific case, use these CSS examples:
The last one capitalizes the first letter of every sentence.
3. Change Link Colors
Style changes aren’t limited to paragraphs. There are four different colors a link can be assigned: its standard color, its visited color, its hover color, and its active color (which it displays while you’re clicking on it). Here’s the CSS code for those:
With links, each “a” is followed by a colon, not a dot.
Each one of those declarations changes the color of a link in a specific context. There’s no need to change the class of a link to get it to change color.
4. Remove Link Underlines
While underlined text clearly indicates a link, it sometimes looks nicer to scrap that underline. This is accomplished with the “text-decoration” attribute. This CSS examples shows how to remove underlines on links:
Anything with the link (“a”) tag will remain non-underlined. Want to underline it when the user hovers over it? Simply add:
You could also add this text-decoration to active links to ensure the underline doesn’t disappear when the link is clicked.
5. Make a Link Button With CSS Code
Want to attract more attention to your link? A link button is a great way to go about it. This one requires a few more lines, but we’ll go over them each individually:
Including all four link states ensures that the button doesn’t disappear when a user hovers or clicks on it. You can also set different parameters for hover and active links, e.g. changing the button or text color.
The background color is set with background-color, and text color with color. Padding defines the size of box—the text is padded by 10px vertically and 25px horizontally.
Text-align ensures that the text is displayed in the center of the button, instead of off to one side. Text-decoration, as we saw in the last example, removes the underline.
The CSS code “display: inline-block” is a bit more complicated. In short, it lets you set the height and width of the object. It also ensures that it starts a new line when it’s inserted.
6. Create a Text Box
A plain paragraph isn’t very exciting. If you want to highlight an element on your page, you might want to add a border. Here’s how to do that with a string of CSS code:
This one is straightforward. It creates a solid purple border, five pixels wide, around any important-class paragraph. To make a paragraph inherit these properties, just declare it like this:
<p class="important">Your important paragraph here.</p>
This will work regardless however big the paragraph is.
There are many different border styles you can apply; instead of “solid,” try “dotted” or “double.” Meanwhile, the width can be “thin,” “medium,” or “thick.” CSS code can even define the thickness of each border individually, like this:
border-width: 5px 8px 3px 9px;
That results in a top border of five pixels, a right border of eight, a bottom of three, and a left border size of nine pixels.
7. Center-Align Elements
For a very common task, centering elements with CSS code is surprisingly unintuitive. Once you’ve done it a few times though, it becomes much easier. You have a couple of different ways to center things.
For a block element (usually an image), use the margin attribute:
This ensures that the element is displayed as a block and that the margin on each side is set automatically. If you want to center all the images on a given page, you can even add “margin: auto” to the img tag:
But what if we want to center text with CSS? Use this sample CSS:
Want to use the “centertext” class to center the text in a paragraph? Simply add that class to the <p> tag:
<p class="centertext">This text will be centered.</p>
8. CSS Examples for Adjusting Padding
The padding of an element specifies how much space should be on each side. For example, if you add 25 pixels of padding to the bottom of an image, the following text will be pushed 25 pixels down. Many elements can have padding, not just images.
Let’s say you want every image to have 20 pixels of padding on the left and right sides, and 40 pixels on the top and bottom. The most basic execution is:
There’s shorthand CSS code we can use to present all of this information in a single line:
padding: 40px 25px 40px 25px;
This sets the top, right, bottom, and left paddings to the right number. Thanks to only two values being used (40 and 25) we can make it even shorter:
padding: 40px 25px
When you use only two values, the first value is set for the top and bottom, while the second will be left and right.
9. Highlight Table Rows
CSS code make tables look much nicer than the default grids. Adding colors, adjusting borders, and making your table responsive to mobile screens are all easy. We’ll look at just one cool effect here: highlighting table rows when you mouse over them.
Here’s the code you’ll need for that:
Now whenever you mouse over a table cell, that row will change color. To see some of the other cool things you can do, check out the W3C page on fancy CSS tables.
10. Shifting Images Between Transparent and Opaque
CSS code can help you do cool things with images, too. Here’s a CSS example to display images at less than full opacity, so they appear slightly “whited out”. When you mouse over the images, they’re brought to full opacity:
The “filter” attribute does the same thing as “opacity,” but internet Explorer 8 and earlier don’t recognize the opacity measurement. For older browsers, it’s a good idea to include it.
Now that the images are slightly transparent, we’ll bring them to fully opaque on a mouseover:
With these CSS code examples, you should have a much better idea of how CSS works. CSS templates can help, but understanding the raw elements is vital.
The 10 easy CSS code examples we’ve looked at:
Easy paragraph formatting
Change letter case
Change link colors
Remove link underlines
Make a link buuton
Create a text box
Highlight table rows
Make images opaque
Reviewing them again, you’ll notice several patterns that you can apply to future code. And that’s when you know you’ve really started becoming a CSS master. But remembering it can be tough. You might want to bookmark this page for future reference.
Christian Cawley and Ben Stegner bring you a host of tips, tricks, and news that matters to everyone in the tech podcast for technophobes. This week, we learn about Britbox’s UK launch, YouTube’s homepage redesign, and Netflix’s “skip politics” options.
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The aptly named Pastebin.com was the first text storage website of its kind. It’s used for easily storing and sharing snippets of code with other people online. But if you don’t care for it, you’ll find plenty of alternatives to Pastebin on the web.
Let’s look at the best Pastebin alternatives you can use for storing text. We’ll examine their best features and why they’re worth using over the well-known service.
What Is a Pastebin?
In case you’re wondering why someone would be interested in sites like Pastebin in the first place, let’s quickly look at what Pastebin is for.
Pastebins arose in the late 1990s and early 2000s as a way to easily share blocks of code with proper formatting and without disrupting the flow of chats. The IRC (Internet Relay Chat) chatrooms of the time were much more rudimentary than modern chat apps like Slack or WhatsApp.
Most featured single-line messages, as you can see in the screenshot below:
Posting a 50 line-long block of code into such a chat would obviously disrupt the flow for everyone else. Thus, pastebin sites arose to let you paste a giant block of code with syntax highlighting and proper formatting. When you were ready to share, you could post a link in your chat. Since the URL only took up a single line, it was a great solution.
and hackers leaking breached information, such as passwords.
Pastebin.com is a fine site, but it locks some functionality behind a Pro subscription and isn’t known for its privacy. Here are some Pastebin alternatives worth looking at.
Formerly known as Tinypaste, this pastebin site makes sharing dead simple. Enter a title for your paste, then you have a few options for formatting the text. You can use bold, italics, underline, and strikethrough text, as well as enabling code highlighting. In addition, ControlC supports adding videos, plus changing the text color and size.
Unlike Pastebin, you won’t see recent public pastes along the side of the site. All pastes are hidden from search engines by default, and you can set a password to protect your paste if you like. While you can create an account to better keep track of what you’ve submitted, it’s not necessary.
When you open a ControlC link, you’ll have to close a page of ads before viewing the paste. From there, you can toggle line numbers of the paste or even create a new version based on the original.
Overall, ControlC is a no-nonsense pastebin site. It doesn’t have a ton of fancy features but works fine when you just need to share some quick text.
If you’re in a hurry, give Hastebin a look. It’s a Pastebin alternative for code where the entire interface of the site is an editable text field, which makes it visually attractive. Enter or paste the text you want to share, then press Ctrl + S or hit the Save icon in the top-right corner.
This will instantly save your text and change the URL in the address bar to a shareable link. It also detects the language you’ve used and highlights the syntax automatically.
Also, on that bar in the top-right corner is a New button, which you can press to start a new paste right away. When viewing a paste, the Duplicate and Edit button lets you make changes while starting from the original content. And you can hit Just Text to display the raw text on a separate page, which is great for obtaining a clean copy.
All pastes on this site stay up for 30 days since their last view. While search engines won’t find your pastes, you also shouldn’t expect any privacy from what you share here. As a bonus, the site has no ads, CAPTCHAs, or registration.
Those who find the above options too code-focused should like Just Paste Me better. While you can use it to share code, it offers a rich text editing box great for typing up notes, instructions, or similar blocks of normal text.
You’ll find all the typical text options here, such as bullet points, headings, hyperlinks, and images. There’s a Preview button so you can check how your page looks before sharing it.
Don’t miss the Additional options section at the bottom. There you can set a page title, choose a custom URL, or have the site email you a link to your page for safekeeping.
Once you complete a CAPTCHA and hit Publish, you’ll see a link to your page that you can share anywhere. You can even edit the page after publishing it if your session hasn’t expired and you haven’t closed the browser.
Just Paste Me doesn’t require registration, and the small ad on the page is unobtrusive. Give it a try next time you need a Pastebin alternative for normal text.
You might assume that all paste sites are the same, but that’s not the case, as we’ve seen. PrivateBin stands out as a privacy-focused place to create pastes. Use the Format dropdown at the top to choose Plain Text, Source Code, or Markdown. Then you can enter your text in the editor.
PrivateBin includes a Preview tab to let you see what your output will look like before sharing. Click the Send button to get a shareable URL for your paste. The service also includes a QR code option if you prefer to share that way. No matter what you choose, there are no ads to worry about.
At the top, you’ll see several options to control how you share. By default, the Expires field is set to one week, but you can change this to as little as five minutes. If you check the Burn after reading option, the message will self-destruct after the link is opened one time.
Alternatively, you can select Open discussion to let people leave comments on the paste. Finally, be sure to set a Password to protect sensitive pastes.
We’ve looked at several sites like Pastebin to help you find the best one for your needs. There’s nothing inherently wrong with Pastebin, but a different option may well serve your needs better than the site most people use for this job.
Morse code was once a revolutionary form of communication, as it allowed people to transmit messages electrically over long distances. While it’s fallen out of favor due to modern technology, you’ll still find cool Morse code software to make use of it in the 21st century.
Let’s take a look at some Morse software you can use to transmit messages and have fun with Morse code.
Chances are that you don’t know Morse code by heart. It’s easy enough to find a key or flowchart online to translate the code, but you might be interested in fully learning it on your own.
If that’s the case, check out Google’s Morse Typing Trainer tool. Google released it alongside support for Morse Code in its Gboard keyboard for Android and iOS. This is primarily intended as an accessibility tool for people who have difficulty typing on a standard keyboard, but anyone can use it to send Morse code from their keyboard.
This tool uses visual aids to help you associate each letter in Morse code with its dots and dashes. For example, for the letter “B,” which is represented by “. – – -” in Morse code, it shows a banjo with a dot in the middle and three dashes going up the neck.
You can access a demo of the service on your desktop, but it’s intended for use on your phone using Gboard.
First, download Gboard if it’s not already on your phone. To open the app’s settings, select a text field to bring up your keyboard. If another keyboard appears, tap the Keyboard icon in the bottom-right corner and switch to Gboard.
Next, hit the arrow at the top of the keyboard to show a list of icons. Select the three-dot Menu button to show more items, then tap the Gear icon to open Settings.
From here, select Languages and tap the existing English (US) entry. Scroll all the way to the right and select Morse code. Below this you can change a variety of settings; tap Done to add the Morse code keyboard.
To switch between the standard keyboard and Morse code, tap the Globe icon in Gboard.
Using Morse Code on Gboard for iPhone
Download Gboard from the App Store if you don’t have it yet, then open the app from your home screen. Once you’re here, select Languages, then Add language. Scroll down to the bottom and select Morse Code – English for whatever region you prefer.
Now Morse code is added to your keyboard. To switch to it, tap the Globe icon in Gboard. You’re then ready to type in Morse code on your iOS device.
If you don’t want to commit to learning Morse code, you can still use tools like the Morse Code Translator to send and receive Morse code on your computer.
This site lets you enter a message in English to see the equivalent in Morse code. It also supports showing the English output for Morse code characters. Once you’ve typed out a message, you can hit Play to hear the code. Check the Light box to also show corresponding flashes.
It’s also easy to share your Morse code with others. Click the Save button to download a copy of the audio in WAV format. Or use the Send button to create a unique URL that you can send to friends. When they open it, they’ll hear the message, see flashes, and watch the English characters appear in real-time.
This site has several other resources related to Morse code, including a virtual keyer, text guide to the characters, and information on message timing.
One of the coolest online Morse code programs, morsecode.me allows you to join chatrooms and talk to other people in Morse code. As people type, you’ll hear the corresponding sounds and see the text appear in real-time.
The service offers several channels depending on your proficiency level. The default is channel 1 for beginners, while more experienced users can switch to a different channel using the top menu.
Give it a try if you’re confident enough in your Morse code skills to communicate back and forth. There’s a key on the right side to help you out, but the site mentions that this is for people who know Morse code. Thus, you should take care to be respectful and not clog up the chat.
Years ago, we covered a free Morse code decoder software called CwGet. It’s still around, but it’s fairly clunky and only available for Windows. You can achieve the same effect with Morse Decoder, which is made by the same person as the Morse Code Translator service mentioned above.
This service lets you either upload an audio file containing Morse code or listen to audio from your computer’s microphone. It will display the characters in the message as it detects them. You can also see a basic graph of the input below.
If you wanted, you could use this tool to send secret messages to your friends in Morse code. However, you’ll need to encrypt them in some way, as anyone who has access to the raw audio can easily decode the Morse code text using a service like this. You might hide the Morse code file as a single track in a multi-track audio file, for instance.
Even if you’ve never used Morse code before, we hope you can have some fun with this collection of free Morse code software. They’re available to use on any platform and make learning, translating, decoding, and communicating in Morse code simple.
Many of the apps we use every day are based in the cloud. Yet most developers still rely on outdated desktop software. If you want to work across multiple devices and speed up your workflow, you might want to try Codeanywhere. This powerful cloud-based development environment lets you collaborate in real-time, connect with Git repositories, and run terminal commands on desktop and mobile. Right now, you can pick up a one-year Freelancer subscription for just $49.99 at MakeUseOf Deals.
As the name implies, Codeanywhere has been designed for complete flexibility. Instead of being tied to your desktop workflow, you can use this platform to write code on your laptop, your tablet, and even your phone.
No matter which device you choose, you can code in over 75 languages with full autocomplete. The platform also offers a large selection of dev stacks, and you can easily connect your code via FTP, SFTP, Dropbox, Google Drive, Git, and other platforms. Meanwhile, you can choose to run commands on your own container or on remote servers via SSH.
Codeanywhere also allows you to collaborate with your colleagues and browse through previous versions of your code.
One Year of Cloud Coding for $49.99
If you would like to start coding in the cloud, you can currently get a one-year Codeanywhere subscription for $49.99 on the Freelancer plan, worth $120.
These two events seemingly leave little space for any other news, making it less likely the company will surprise us with any additional products.
Or does it?
After all, Apple’s September 10 invitation promises “By innovation only” and its [AR]T Walk seems to provide a good opportunity to evangelize such devices.
But the lack of applications for these devices will be the bugbear for any launch.
Apple has certainly created an ecosystem for AR development.
ARKit is evolving rapidly and is created in partnership with AR industry leading lights.
What isn’t clear is how easily those ARKit experiences will migrate into eyewear.
Nor do developers know what they need to know in order to build those experiences effectively – what are the limitations of use? What kind of imaging assets are required? What might the refresh rate of the eye displays be, and how do developers avoid motion sickness? What happens to users with poor vision?
There are lots of hard-working public service announcement mascots out there: Woodsy Owl, McGruff the Crime Dog, and Eddie Eagle to name a few. None of those mascots are so popular as to merit having their own specialized mail-delivery zip code, however, except for Smokey “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” Bear (the slogan was updated in April 2001).
What boosted Smokey to the kind of fame that brings in truckloads of fan mail was the decision of the U.S Forest Service to adopt an actual bear to serve as the mascot. In 1950, firefighting crews rescued an American black bear cub from a massive wildfire in the Capitan Mountains of New Mexico and the Forest Service adopted it as a living embodiment of Smokey Bear. The bear cub proved to be so popular with children across the country that the Forest Service started receiving piles of fan mail. So much fan mail, in fact, that by 1964, the U.S. Postal Service assigned Smokey his own mailing zip code to make sorting the bags of fan mail easier. That zip code, for the curious, is 20252 (which is still in use).
Smokey the Bear went on to live at the National Zoo for the remaining 26 years of his life and, after dying of old age, was buried in Smokey Bear Historical Park in Capitan, New Mexico. The Smokey Bear character remains the most popular public service announcement mascot in U.S. history and licensing of his image brings in millions of dollars every year to help fund fire prevention education efforts.
Whether you already have some coding experience or are starting from scratch, the good news is that you don’t have to be chained to your desk in order to learn how to code.
What’s even better is that you don’t have to spend years mastering programming either. Thanks to numerous coding apps available for both Android and iOS devices, you can easily level up your coding skills even when you’re on the go.
In this post, we’ve rounded up the best coding apps that will help you learn to code like a pro.
Programming Hero is an Android-only app that offers personalized paths towards coding mastery. The emphasis of this app is on making coding fun and it does so through teaching you how to build your own game while learning how to code at the same time. The app also offers forums where you can chat with other app users and exchange knowledge and tips.
Easy Coder is an Android app that focuses on teaching Java programming exclusively. The app provides step-by-step interactive lessons, quizzes, and programming challenges which will teach you the basic programming concepts and prepare you to develop your skills even further. Lessons are short and concise so that you consume them even if you’re on the go and the app also comes with practical examples to clarify the programming concepts.