kirk.is | archive | 2012 mar

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hit or missile

(5 comments)
March 1, 2012
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hit or missile - source - built with processing

I admit this game is a bit of filler. I was late Saturday, I was kind of crispy, but then a latecomer just arrived around 8 or 9, so I thought I should be good for at least one more game.

I reused the tracking routine from Heatseeker (An old C=64 Gazette game) and made this. I've been told it plays a bit like an old game by Cactus.

action figure fighter

(2 comments)
March 2, 2012
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action figure fighter - source - built with processing

In some ways, my final Pirate Kart V game was my favorite, even though it's mostly a jokey mouse waggler. It captures a bit of youth in 80s, and the way you'd make 'action figures' "fight" by waggling them at each other.

playlist: season_2011 4 winter

(3 comments)
March 3, 2012
Another 3 months gone, another time to round up music I've added to my collection... all these I've ranked "3 stars" or greater, with the 4 and 5 ones highlighted in red.

Unfortunately, the very best song I added to my collection this quarter, the only 5-star song and maybe one of my top 5 ever, I can't post here... it's not really released! It's called "As It Comes" by "The Exploding Voids", it was played over the credits of the same German artist's (Daniel Vogelmann) horror short "Wilt" (Welk, originally) and he was kind enough to send me an MP3. I will absolutely write more about it once it's out...

Christmas Hip Hop - one year for Christmas I got the kind of great cassette (it was the 80s) Christmas Rap (I blogged the Cover Art before.) So many of the tracks really stuck with me: When I ripped my whole CD collection, somehow I missed the "Blues Brother" soundtrack, which was HUGELY influential on anyone in a high school jazz band in the 80s and early 90s... some of the songs seem a bit too polished now, but they're still pretty awesome. Progressive, Alt-Rock, Softer... I dunno. I fail musical genres.
  • Concrete Wall Zee Avi. My friend Erica had us go see her live, based in large part on the terrificness of this song.
  • How You Remind Me Nickelback. I'm not afraid to like music I think sounds good. In this case, I was reminded of this song by a Motown tribute made to placate protesters against Nickelback.
  • Unwritten Natasha Bedingfield. More music I'm not afraid to like. This is a great sounding song with a nice upbeat message.
  • Solsbury Hill Peter Gabriel. Another unabashedly optimisitc sounding piece... I love the role it has in making this recut trailer for The Shining into a feel-good dramedy.
  • Off To The Races Lana Del Rey. Amber's big on this gal right now, and I dig some of her songs.
  • Nantes Beirut. Accordians and Euphoniums, what more do you want in a piece?
  • The Humbling River Puscifer. This song is the incongruous backdrop for the trailer for the video game Transfomers: Fall of Cybertron.
  • The Guitar Guy Clark. Daniel Vogelmann mentioned some of his American cowboy influences, including Guy Clark, so I checked it out. A bit like a softer and more haunting "Devil Went Down to Georgia"
  • Glycerine (Acoustic) Bush. 90s Calling! This was on one of Amber's playlists.
Electronica, Party, Hip-hop...
  • Party Rock Anthem Lmfao. Somehow I totally missed Lmfao 'til one of the summer interns at work came back for a visit and mentioned these guys at played at Tufts' Spring Fling.
  • Sexy And I Know It Lmfao. Then when xkcd made a cartoon riff on this song, I downloaded it too.
  • Super Bass Nicki Minaj. Weirdly an obscene Eminem to this artist made me wonder if any of her songs were any fun.
  • T.H.E (The Hardest Ever) will.i.am. This is a super fun video.
  • Smell Yo Dick Riskay. Amber hates this song but I like the note of sadness it carries.
  • hooked on a hollaback blue swede vs gwen stefani. I ripped a cover of this mashup from this video of.... well, it's a naked woman hula hooping.
  • Christmas Tree Lady GaGa. Lightly racy lyrics, I think this one came up on Pandora's Modern Holiday channel.
  • Wu-Tang Clan Aint Nuthing Ta F' Wit Wu-Tang Clan. Weirdly this song has a cameo as a lullabye in that "A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas". Which I somehow managed to see in 2D. Thanks, Somerville Cinema.
  • electric pow wow drum A Tribe Called Red. Cordelia, member of the Seneca tribe, LJ'd about this (I think)
A few random songs with retro appeal:
  • You Got Me Hummin' Sam & Dave. From some Pandora "Hold on, I'm Coming" (Sam+Dave) station I made. Like I've said, I'd like to think I'd know these guys even if they weren't what was on the Blues Bros' car 8-track, but I'm not sure.
  • Cherry Cherry Neil Diamond. We saw Diamond honored at the Kennedy Center Honors. Plus, Saving Silverman.
Two cool 70s instrumentals (rare that instrumentals make it into my playlists) by Ananda Shankar... Finally, weird and novelty songs.
"Just remember: it's not true unless it makes you laugh. That is the one and sole and infallible test of all ideas that will ever be presented to you."
--Hagbard in "Illuminatus!", Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson
I always look for a place to pay for a (DRM-free) MP3, but when that fails beemp3.com is pretty good (Hot Chocolate, Shonen Knife)

rip ralph mcquarrie

(1 comment)
March 4, 2012
We lost Ralph McQuarrie, who made so much of the awesome Star Wars concept art...


More great stuff of his at the Concept Ships blog. (Cool header there, not McQ but still, it probably bears the imprint of his influence...)
"It isn't all fun, but it is all games"
--http://twitter.com/lowerdens
"I know, I know. It's just that... well, I don't know... I just should have been there and I wasn't. Aaanyway, I'm just gonna bottle this back up until it explodes in my future therapist's face."
--Julia Wertz, "Drinking at the Movies"
Man... am I just totally disconnected from the media, or have Republicans totally written off Massachusetts primary-wise?
Had a nice time hanging out with @SpindleyQ today. Doritos Dash of Destruction and Crosstown are both very good Xbox games.
Man I am sad Doritos Dash of Destruction is no longer on Xbox Live- best advergame ever- changed scale for T.Rex vs Van, and very Rampage-y

grace hopper is my hero

(1 comment)
March 5, 2012

--Grace Hopper, amazing computer pioneer. Really instrumental in the idea that the same language could be run on different computers, that programming is something that should be abstracted. I wonder if you can buy one of her nanoseconds anywhere... of course you could just make one...
"War is people fighting over ideas. Peace is the other way around."
--my paraphrase of this smbc comic
I still find myself thinking about this article -- is style mostly stuck in the 90s, or does every decade think "it's all been done"?

and then...

(4 comments)
March 6, 2012
--via 4GIFS.com

"@LOLGOP Adultery is a sin to Catholic church. So when employers can fire men for it we'll see how fast GOP feels about religious freedom."
--http://twitter.com/groundedchick
More relevant, if less funny, than "Mitt Romney or Mr. Burns?" it's "Ayatollah or Santorum?" Can you tell who said what?

liberals!

(1 comment)
March 7, 2012

--via
"RT @j_zimms: Never has the word "pedant" seemed so impoverished.  Finnish word for pedant, pilkunnussija, translates as 'comma fucker'"
--http://twitter.com/johnksawers
http://live.gdgt.com/live-apple-ipad-3-event-coverage/#sort=asc I enjoy that this photo-rich Apple coverage allows "latest at bottom" sorting. Plus: does anyone love/rely on Siri?
Huh. Apple gave up coming up with new form factors, AND new names for the iPad? Odd.
Seriously, dunno if the "new iPad" moniker is genius in mindspace, or incredibly stupid, making it harder to talk (and boast) about.
http://www.moongadget.com/origins/ -- an appreciative view of what George Lucas likely cribbed from in making Star Wars.

problems

(2 comments)
March 8, 2012
Problems are inevitable.
Problems are soluble.


I just finished David Deutsch's book "The Beginning of Infinity". It's a fun read, infuriating at times, but still full of a great optimism.

These two sentences from the book are forming a bit of a mantra for me. I have some deep-seated issues with task-related angst; if I'm not assured of easy and straight forward success, I tend to dillydally and divert my attention to easier, lower-stake wins. But the double promise of this couplet: that yeah, issues almost certainly arise when I'm doing something worthwhile, but you know, they will almost certainly have decent solutions... it's soothing to me, for real.

My inner geek wants to nitpick and say "sure, but there's no promise you're going to LIKE the solutions", but hopefully I'm getting wise enough to squelch that inner naysayer.
On hold with the Mass RMV, using my headphones (w/ mic.) It's like the worst streaming music service ever. (Plus the per minute charge)
"My pencil and I are more clever than I."
--Albert Einstein
11:11 make a wish.. I wish for pizza and sushi.. time to go upstairs to the caf and make my wish come true

the art and history of the animated gif

(1 comment)
March 9, 2012

"Sometimes the haystack is all needles."
--http://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod
Neil Gaiman on How to Seduce a Writer.

it requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason

(2 comments)
March 10, 2012
"I believe in a president whose views on religion are his own private affair, neither imposed by him upon the nation or imposed by the nation upon him as a condition to holding that office. I would not look with favor upon a president working to subvert the First Amendment's guarantees of religious liberty. Nor would our system of checks and balances permit him to do so. And neither do I look with favor upon those who would work to subvert Article VI of the Constitution by requiring a religious test--even by indirection--for it. If they disagree with that safeguard, they should be out openly working to repeal it."
--Kennedy, 1960

"Democracy demands that the religiously motivated translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values. It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason. I may be opposed to abortion for religious reasons, but if I seek to pass a law banning the practice, I cannot simply point to the teachings of my church or evoke God's will. I have to explain why abortion violates some principle that is accessible to people of all faiths, including those with no faith at all."
--Obama, 2006

From Slate's piece on Santorum's Vomitous reaction to this kind of thinking.

"It requires that their proposals be subject to argument, and amenable to reason" is such an important idea, and so well expressed.

mechs!

March 11, 2012
Via via sean ragan's art i like page, which states:
These delightful illustrations are redrawn from Larry S. Todd's story The Warbots appearing in the now-anachronistic Body Armor: 2000 collection edited by Joe Haldeman and published by Ace Science Fiction in 1986. Note the resemblance between Todd's early walkers and the armored fighting suits of Kow Yokoyama's Maschinen Krieger universe.
That page has a few more, and slightly larger images, but as a kid I loved these first three the most (after the mechs get all nano-tech looking and blobby.)







There's a lot of other interesting stuff on ragan's site.
http://mightygodking.com/index.php/2012/03/05/the-politics-of-star-wars/ - Star Wars' roots in Nixon and Vietnam. (And how Americans always think they're the good guys.)
"Your solemn ass from the cow counties, who don't know the Constitution from the Lord's Prayer [...]"
--Mark Twain, "Letters from Hawaii"

Blender of Love Digest

alley-whoop!

(2 comments)
March 12, 2012

My company Alleyoop was in the Boston Globe this Sunday... and my little portrait is there, top row, second from left.



You know, that's not a bad picture of me.

Full of nerdrage at the iOS or iTunes update making my "newly added music" "smart" playlist sort oldest first. What good is that?
Daylight Savings makes walking around the streets of New England after work into a well lit chunk of heaven.

it's funny because it's woody allen (ish)

(1 comment)
March 13, 2012

"The Internet" is a really big answer to a question few knew how to ask.

force it

March 14, 2012
I went back up to the second floor of the barn and I sat in the white plastic chair and I sweated, because it's hot, and I thought: You can't force it. If it isn't there you can't force it. Then I thought: You can force it. My whole life I've been forcing it. You throw yourself against the weight of the massive sliding door to the barn, that does not want to move, and you lean and you wag your hips and you haul on the metal handle, and you strain, and you grunt, and you point your face at the sky and say bad words, and it starts to move and rumble, and then it moves a little more easily, and then a little more easily still, and finally, the barn door is open wide enough that you can barely fit through, taking care not to scrape your back on the broken-off lock flange.

So you can force it, and you should force it. All the time. Force it open. Push. Pull. When you think you can't, think again. On the other hand, sometimes the wood of the door is a little rotten around the handle and you tear out the screws. My father was right. Sometimes the door is really just stuck.
--Nicholson Baker, "The Anthologist", a really lovely book with great thoughts on the rhythm of poetry, and its rhyme, and heartbreak.
It's time to kill software patents. Just let them die.

about the most amazing thing on youtube ever.

March 15, 2012


via. So good.

At first I thought it was tricks with UV lighting but I guess it must be stuff the guys are wearing... doesn't matter. Amazing. (At mgh someone said Team Illuminate did it earlier, but NBC keeps on taking down the links.)

http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/ - new on my dev blog, a simple endpoint data cache, with optional pubsub.
http://pastebin.com/aJQfubrK - THE ROAD NOT TAKEN by Harry Turtledove, nice quick sci-fi read; what if hyperspace was easy but we just missed it?

the maniacal brilliance of the old cartoons

(1 comment)
March 16, 2012

--via Bill the Splut
"I need to find a job doing something I'm good at, but what?"
"Fleeing like a coward?"
"Are you referring to jogging? I do that for my health."
"Which is fleeing like a coward from your own mortality."
--Basic Instructions, How to Find a Job That Suits Your Interests.
"That's right. It's over and then it begins again. "
--Marlin Brando in "Last Tango in Paris"
"Most people who read poetry are reading because they want to write it."
--Nicholson Baker, "The Anthologist"
An alternate translation for "Carpe Diem" is "Pluck the Day", like you would a fruit, or maybe a bowstring. I like that better.

new license

March 17, 2012
I got my license in the mail the other day. A few years ago they changed designs.



I think the new design is a real step backwards. I'm no font-wonk, but come-on, a serif font for the proud name of the commonwealth? And the old design was nothing special, but this new one is worst in about every dimension.

delores delago will survive

March 18, 2012
--One of the "Enter" magazines mentioned her "Art or Bust" production used computers for some of the video art. Then I watched it and kind of laughed out loud. Good stuff, Divine Miss M!
Found a torrent for the full of "Enter: the world of computers and new technology", a Children's Television Workshop magazine from the mid-80s. It made me mourn the days of built-in BASIC and small type-in computer programs. Demonstrating that it was easy to make computers do stuff you told them was greatly empowering.
Man kindle app for iPad keeps getting worse. Now it's "cloud" not archive, so you can't see just non-downloaded stuff. Where are Collections?
"Be careful what you get good at doin' 'cause you'll be doin' it the rest of your life."
--Gabrielle Hamilton

skeletor!

March 19, 2012

Dream Dialog: "This icea cream just has 2 calories a serving!" "Yeah? How many servings in this bowl?" "Err, 200".

for future reference: license photo old and new

(1 comment)
March 20, 2012
       
So my old license photo and my new. Old one seems really old... at least 2003 or so, and I'm wondering if it's late 90s. The new one is just odd because they don't let you wear your glasses.
"Do what you love and the money will laugh at you."
--http://twitter.com/TheTweetOfGod
Because of a giveaway the copley boloco line goes down half the block FREE BURRITOS ARE ONLY FREE IF YOUR TIME HAS NO VALUE PEOPLE

for i have no connection to the actual production of speech sounds nor the imposition of syntactic structure and i must scream

(1 comment)
March 21, 2012
The neurologist V.S Ramachandran:
The key to the whole puzzle, I suggest, lies in the division of labor between our two cerebral hemispheres and in our need to create a sense of coherence and continuity in our lives. Most people are familiar with the fact that the human brain consists of two mirror image halves—like the two halves of a walnut—with each half, or cerebral hemisphere, controlling movements on the opposite side of the body. A century of clinical neurology has shown clearly that the two hemispheres are specialized for different mental capacities and that the most striking asymmetry involves language. The left hemisphere is specialized not only for the actual production of speech sounds but also for the imposition of syntactic structure on speech and for much of what is called semantics—comprehension of meaning. The right hemisphere, on the other hand, doesn’t govern spoken words but seems to be concerned with more subtle aspects of language such as nuances of metaphor, allegory and ambiguity—skills that are inadequately emphasized in our elementary schools but that are vital for the advance of civilizations through poetry, myth and drama. We tend to call the left hemisphere the major or “dominant” hemisphere because it, like a chauvinist, does all the talking (and maybe much of the internal thinking as well), claiming to be the repository of humanity’s highest attribute, language. Unfortunately, the mute right hemisphere can do nothing to protest.
Quoted in Brian Christian's "The Most Human Human", about playing the human side of the real life Turing test. How can you most convincingly show that YOU are the real human, darn it all?
Alan Turing made up a "paper machine" algorithm for playing chess... I would love to see the details and/or an implementation of that!
There are multiple levels of similarity between B+W photography and e-ink readers; their respective fans have parallel things they dig.
"A piece of your brain the size of a grain of sand would contain one hundred thousand neurons, two million axons, and one billion synapses, all 'talking to' each other."
--Brian Christian (might be quoting someone in "The Most Human Human"

metroid prime prime

March 22, 2012

--via
"A plausible mission of artists is to make people appreciate being alive at least a little bit. The Beatles did."
--http://twitter.com/Kurt_Vonnegut
"geeks: just because your language *allows* you to do some syntacticly consise coolness doesn't mean you should. Readability trumps coolness."
--http://twitter.com/masukomi
"The past, the present, and the future walk into a bar. It was tense."
--http://twitter.com/Nick_Lalone
"eat some starbursts and all your problems will dissolve away into fruity goodness"
--lauren
Forty-six percent of drivers aged 18 to 24 said they would choose Internet access over owning a car, according to the research firm Gartner.
"[Turing] suggested the Turing machine as a way to describe a mathematician. It's [modeling] the way a person solves a problem, not the way he recognizes his mother."
--Hava Siegelmann
"Men go crazy in congregations. They only get better one by one."
--Sting
Walking around a city I'm suddenly struck by how much engineering humans can do! Seems like we should all be living in hovels and lean-tos.

haters gonna hate...

March 23, 2012

(making the rounds)

Stop Software Patents. Let them die. Copyright protection is enough.
"I often judge a work of art by how neccessary it is for that work to be in that medium."
--Brian Christian. Me too! Especially in video games, which is some of why I don't dig RPGs and strategy games.

self-portrait of the girl with a pearl earring

(1 comment)
March 24, 2012

--via
"A tree or shrub can grow and bloom. I am always the same. But I am clever."
--Racter (an early AI chatbot)
Studying recent Turing test attempts, I see a parallel between "tricky" chatbots and the way high school debating has gone off the rails-- just playing little linguistic games to win a rigidly defined competition is bad in the same way 'spew as many supportive facts as quickly as possible' as the primary method of debating is. Both are tweaked to maximize the chance of winning in the letter but not the spirit of their respctive laws. Then again, it's the same thing that's happened in investing, with high frequency trading turning so much of it into an insider zero-sum game with money as points.
Sometimes I think encouraging cloud storage for consumer's media is just a scheme to get people vested in the fortunes of that company.

life as seen by family computing, january 1984

(2 comments)
March 25, 2012
I've been on a kick of reading back issues of 80s-era computer magazines, some of which loomed weirdly large in my youth. This is from the January 1984 issue of Family Computing, an issue that also contains this weirdly fictionalized accounting of a family's first few days of their new home computer, full of the nerdiest safety best practices imaginable.

This image accompanied some odd type in game "One in Six - Take your Pick", with the program by high schooler Steve Horowitz and the puzzle and illustration by Josh Gosfield. The illustration probably warped by view of gender and careers at a tender age.

I like Fred, with his "I'm Studying Girls" and how he finds his niche and stays with it.

be ye not proud

March 26, 2012
Brian Christian in The Most Human Human:
Micromanagement and out-of-control executive compensation are odd in a way that dovetails precisely with what's odd about our rationalist, disembodied, brain-in-a-vat ideas about ourselves. When I fight off a disease bent on my cellular destruction, when I marvelously distribute energy and collect waste with astonishing alacrity even in my most seemingly fatigued moments, when I slip on ice and gyrate crazily but do not fall, when I unconsciously counter-steer my way into a sharp bicycle turn, taking advantage of physics I do not understand using a technique I am not even aware of using, when I somehow catch the dropped oranges before I know I've dropped them, when my wounds heal in my ignorance, I realize how much bigger I am than I think I am. And how much more important, nine times out of ten, those lower-level processes are to my overall well-being than the higher-level ones that tend to be the ones getting me bent out of shape or making me feel disappointed or proud.
So whenever you have an "unproductive" day, think of all the things you've been digesting! Did you know one "food calorie" is actually 1000 "small calories"? And one small calorie "approximates the energy needed to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 C"? That's crazy energy and you don't even know it!
Gold Bond Ultimate Healing w/ Aloe, applied daily after shower, has made my elbows lickably soft! (Good stuff, hate scratchy elbows.)
At least I assume lickably soft. it's really hard to lick your own elbows.
"Draw Something" is the first online game with social obligation I've been drawn to- tough to leave someone who drew for you hanging! The UI not having an "ignore request" button reinforces that.
"I can't complain, but sometimes I still do."
--Joe Walsh
Observations on getting older: decades can kind of slip by. Make sure you do something big every decade, something milestone worthy.
Whoa. Just accepted a Linked In request from Lady Miss Kier. (Sigh, probably just because of this: http://kirkjerk.com/2006/12/31/ )

mass to the chusetts

March 27, 2012

via the Boston Indies Group
27 Degrees F. Guess it's good I gave up the sandals today.
We watch movies not to see if the main character dies but to find out if it's the kind of movie where the main characters can die. A lot of life, then, is waiting around and figuring out what kind of movie life is. (Spoiler: the main character dies at the end.)

permission

(2 comments)
March 28, 2012
--I took part in the Zefrank kickstarter.... part of the delay for the relaunch is all the shwag he has to send out, because the kickstarter was such a success. This is shwag for somebody else but I think it's a good reminder.
The Supreme Court defending our freedom from health care
http://blogs.suntimes.com/foreignc/2012/03/the-persistence-of-memory.html - I want to see this. The core premise sounds a lot my idea for an afterlife... what if it was THIS moment, forever?

batman's climbin' the walls

(2 comments)
March 29, 2012

-- Every Batman-Wall-Climbing Celebrity Cameo. via BB
Best Buy is closing some stores. Cambridge has Micro Center, but w/o a BB handy where would one test drive a laptop, say? Suspect answer increasingly is "Apple"

soon...

(1 comment)
March 30, 2012
--Found this on my tubmlr recently. I think this is the original source. Such an awesome and terrifying way of viewing our culture's birthday traditions with the specter of our own mortality!
When civilization falls there will be legends of "Googal" the omniscient oracle, with glowing altars in every home and business.
Conservatives: dumber than ever. Faith over reason is a recipe for bad policy and awful political stances.
http://hint.fm/wind/index.html --awesome map of current prevailing winds all over the USA
It seems kind of insane how almost all of the Panera's pastries are like 2 or 3 Snickers' worth full of calories.

a couple of beers

(3 comments)
March 31, 2012
Well, here I am at thirty-eight
Well, I certainly thought I'd have longer to wait.
You just stop in for a couple of beers,
And gosh, there go thirty-seven years.
--Ogden Nash (I originally found and prepublished this June 2009...)
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