Recipes and U.S. copyright law

I often search for recipes online and end up at sites like Allrecipes.com. The recipes I find often have terrific reviews and star ratings. The problem, however, is that people are dumb.

You see, people have a bad habit of writing reviews along the lines of:

Oh my gosh this is the most amazing recipe in the world! My family loves it! My dog loves it! My neighbors love it! Oh by the way I didn’t actually follow the recipe. I made so many changes that my review is completely irrelevant.

Drives me crazy. I follow the 5 star recipe that has 4,000 reviews and it turns out awful because nobody is actually reviewing the recipe.

The solution? Make my own recipe site, Recipe Kabob!

Under U.S. copyright law, recipes can’t be copyrighted. Sure, you can copyright your pictures of your recipe and copyright your substantial descriptions of the recipe, but the recipe itself can’t be copyrighted. This means anyone can copy any recipe and it isn’t actually stealing. Awesome, no?

So I’ve started a recipe site. I don’t want people’s comments or reviews. I don’t care what they did different. The recipes I list are great as-is and don’t require modification. Think of it like a cookbook.

If you see something you like, feel free to take it. :)

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Yale School of Art

Recently I blogged about Yale and their intelligent use of Drupal.

Today I would like to blog about Yale again. Well, a part of Yale. Specifically, the Yale University School of Art. This page is, well, let’s just say it is “unique”. Or maybe “special” would be a better description.

They decided it’d be a cool idea to make the page a wiki that any Yale art student can modify. Without supervision. I’m sure whoever came up with this genius idea thought that art students — nay, Yale art students — collaborating together would make the most awesome sauce website in the universe.

Well judge for yourself: Yale University School of Art

Keep in mind that the background changes frequently. At the time of writing, the background was blank, which is the first time I’ve seen it blank. It may be green or purple or pixelated or full of words when you look at it.

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Pinterest needs some work

Pinterest needs some work

My wife convinced me to try out Pinterest. It is basically a normal bookmarking site that shows a thumbnail from the bookmarked site (not to be confused with a thumbnail of the bookmarked site). The thing that makes it so popular is that it is geared towards the kind of stuff you’d find in Martha Stewart Living, and the terminology/interface is geared towards non-techies.

And that is the problem. In addition to being geared towards non-techies, it also feels like it was made by non-techies. I’ve been using it for a few days and like it, but would love it if they’d fix a few things:

  1. Don’t force me to follow people I don’t know when I sign up. The signup process needs some work. I can understand suggesting that you follow some people, but forcing you to follow strangers wasn’t something I wanted to do.
  2. Give an option to hide duplicate items when browsing Pinterest. I hate it when something popular is posted and reposted and reposted, so all you see is the same stuff over and over and over.
  3. Create native extensions for Chrome and Firefox. The bookmarklet doesn’t work consistently. It doesn’t work at all on some of my browsers. Right now I’m using a third-party extension that lets me right click the image I want to pin. This works maybe 90% of the time, but I’d love to use an official extension.
  4. When I’m done editing or deleting a board, redirect me to my original page. This one drives me crazy. I go to my list of boards, I delete one, and somehow I end up at the homepage. Why in the world would they think I want to go to the homepage? I’m obviously interested in modifying my boards, so why not put me back where I was before I edited/deleted a board?
  5. Add an optional profanity filter. I suspect a huge number of their users are family-oriented or very religious. It would be awesome if I didn’t have to see the profanity put up by what I suspect is a very small minority. This is especially important when repinning from a board that has profanity in its name.

There are other minor annoyances, but those are the big ones (particularly #2).

Overall though I’ve enjoyed it. I’m currently using two boards. One is for DIY stuff I want to try, and the other is for recipes I want to try. It is much easier to find a recipe on a wall of pictures than a list of page titles.

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Nuclear Risk

Nuclear Risk

For a few months on my mission I got really into playing Risk. We’d often spend our entire preparation day trying to conquer the world. It was a blast!

I still like to play Risk a lot today (found it for $3.99 at a thrift store!), but I most often like to play what I call Nuclear Risk.

To play Nuclear Risk, all you need are the normal pieces that come with the game, and a few additional markers to put on the territories that get nuked. If you are playing with only 2 or 3 players, then you can just use the cannons from one of the colors that aren’t being used. Or you can use coins or pieces of paper or whatever is convenient.

The rules are simple: If an attacker rolls triples, then the territory at the top of the deck gets nuked. All the armies in it die, and the fallout kills half of any armies that move into it every turn (rounded up).

I really hate games that don’t have rules to cover every situation, so here is the extended version of the rules that cover every situation I’ve encountered:

  1. If an attacker rolls triples (three 1’s, three 2’s, three 3’s, etc), then you immediately draw a territory card from the deck, and nuke that territory (if you draw a wild, put the wild on the bottom and draw again). The territory card is discarded from the game. The original rolls by the attacker and defender do not count. If the attacker may choose whether to attack again or not.
  2. When a territory gets nuked, all armies are instantly killed and removed from the board. A marker is placed on the territory to indicate that it has been nuked.
  3. A player may choose to nuke a territory that he holds the territory card for (even his own territory) instead of taking his normal turn. The card is discarded, and the player does not get to place reinforcements, attack territories, or do a strategic move.
  4. Armies may only enter a nuked territory as part of a strategic move at the end of a player’s turn.
  5. Armies may only leave a nuked territory as part of a strategic move or when they conquer a territory. The player is not required to leave an army behind in the nuked territory when they conquer an adjacent territory.
  6. Players cannot attack armies that are in a nuked territory.
  7. Multiple players can have armies in a nuked territory at the same time.
  8. At the beginning of a player’s turn, before they place reinforcements, the player loses half of his armies that are in a nuked territory (rounded up). This happens every turn and for every nuked territory.
  9. Reinforcements may not be placed in a nuked territory.
  10. Nuked territories do not count when determining if a continent has been fully conquered. For example, if the yellow player has all of South America, except for Brazil because it has been nuked, then yellow still gets the reinforcement bonus for South America. Yellow still gets the bonus even if a red army is in the nuked Brazil territory, because nobody controls a nuked territory.

Anyways, give it a shot! It really adds a fun new element to the game, and discourages hording all your armies on a single territory. Some games almost no territories get nuked, some games nearly half the territories get nuked.

Also, let me know if you run into a situation I didn’t cover with the rules above.

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2011 Goal Update (September)

This is my ninth monthly report on how I’m doing with my goals for 2011:

  • Read the Book of Mormon again. I’m still behind, but I’m making serious progress towards getting back on track. The difficulty is that I’ve started a Book of Mormon class which has me reading the Book of Mormon from the beginning.
  • Earn as much from my side business as I was earning from my day job. The beginning of the month was pretty depressing. Earnings were way down. The end of the month has shown an incredible turn around, culminating with my highest earning day ever. I’m very close to being back on track, which is awesome after falling way behind last month.
  • Build a dining room table. Build a piano keyboard desk. Build something. Still nothing.
  • Launch twelve new websites. I’m on a quest to put all my dormant domains to use. This month I took namegenerator.in, which I’ve had for quite a few months, and finally put something up on it. I’m very satisfied with the outcome. Check it out at namegenerator.in.

I’ve also been working on a few goals that I didn’t originally blog about:

  • Start an email newsletter. I’ve been planning on doing a dating tips newsletter to go along with The Awkward Turtle site, but I have a new site in mind that I’m pretty excited about and would work well with a newsletter, so maybe I’ll do that instead.
  • Create a game for mobile phones. I’d like to play around with making a game using HTML 5, canvas, JS, etc. Should be fun.

Goals I’ve accomplished this year:

  • Go back to college. I’ve enrolled in a distance learning program with BYU-Idaho.
  • Max out my 401k and Roth IRA contributions. The 401k and Roth IRAs are maxed out. Yay!
  • Quit my day job. I’m basically retired. I play with my daughter, work on hobbies, and sleep all day. Its a pretty good life.
  • Become a dad. I’m a dad! Yay! My daughter Anna was born in late May.
  • Publish my first book. I’ve published my first book (paperback, Kindle, and Nook). Took me a couple years, and I already found 2 typos (grr!) fixed the typos, but at least it is finally in print.
  • Paid my taxes. I make money from a lot of places which makes my taxes really complicated, so getting this finished was awesome. I also started paying quarterly taxes because my self-employed income has gotten pretty high. It is uber painful to write a big check every couple months to the IRS, but oh well, that is the cost of making money..
  • Get out of debt. We’ve paid off the last of Becca’s student loans which means we are now debt free! Yay!
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