kisrael.com | < retrospect: 1 sep >

(1) 2013.09.01

  ...of the moment  

(5) cleveland air show
2012.09.01

at the cleveland airshow


the blue angels, tight formation


come for the airplanes, stay for the hot dogs!


kirk and amber (outside of pier w)

(3) an american modernist
2011.09.01
kottke.org excerpted this bit of a David Galbraith piece on Steve Jobs... a brisk read (with pictures!) and worthwhile:
Perfecting the model of selling design that is compatible with big business, Foster simultaneously grew one of the largest architecture practices in the world while still winning awards for design excellence. The secret was to design buildings like the limited edition, invite only Porsches that Foster drove and fellow Porsche drivers would commission them. Jobs went further, however, he managed to create products that were designed like Porsches and made them available to everyone, via High Tech that transcended stylistic elements. An Apple product really was high technology and its form followed function, it went beyond the Porsche analogy by being truly fit for purpose in a way that a Porsche couldn't, being a car designed for a speed that you weren't allowed to drive. Silicon Valley capitalism had arguably delivered what the Soviets had dreamed of and failed, modernism for the masses. An iPhone really is the best phone you can buy at any price. To paraphrase Andy Warhol: Lady Gaga uses an iPhone, and just think, you can have an iPhone too. An iPhone is an iPhone and no amount of money can get you a better phone. This was what American modernism was about.

  ...of the moment  
One downside to achieving "Inbox Zero" on gmail is that its always pimping out Google Reader, like "not enough to read" is the problem.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_sofa_problem - sometimes I just love geometry.
French are great soldiers (seriously.) But now they have a new war: THE WAR OF THE POST-ITS http://www.postitwar.com/

(5) aloning
2010.09.01
--via JZ

  ...of the moment  
http://www.slate.com/id/2265067/ - the more I know about Max Headroom the more I like.
Dig the idea of built-in HDR on the iPhone camera. Wonder when/if Canon Powershots will have that (oh, duh, need to check out CHDK firmware replacement, maybe I can get it already)
I like how Netflix is the whore of streaming now. I can watch on laptop, Wii, PS3, Xbox 360.. yet Apple TV is still tempting.
Apple Store is now themed with a "fingerprint rainbow" as title backdrops. Like that they're embracing how smudge-y these things get.
You can't spell "success" without "u"! But in fact, I can't really spell "success" all that well, all those weird "s"s and soft "c"s...

(6) scorpioncam!
2009.09.01

--from the Museum of Animal Perspectives (via)


  ...of the moment  
Bad restaurant idea: "Barely Legal Seafood"
How does our econosystem support so many damn cellphone stores?

(9) babel
2008.09.01
Oy, September already? Where do the summers go...

Followup of the Moment
So despite some discouraging technical setbacks, Team Cowsome Loneboys of the OLPC Physics Game Jam got a finished product in time for the judging...



The game we presented, "Babel", had 2 phases... building and destroying. Building is taking 60 seconds to build as high a tower as possible, using a nice springy mouse tool to grab and sling blocks into place. Destroying uses the same mouse tool to grab bricks and fling them away, or possibly grabbing the wrecking ball for that purpose.

The game was surprisingly well-received... the educators in particular actually liked its simplified environment and focus a lot. There were only 4 or 5 games made, but we got a silver medal in "level design" (got the mug for that) and a bronze in something else.

Even after the judging, Jon and I kept on toiling to add an element that was part of our original vision: a slingshot! Now instead of racing against a timer, the goal was to use as few shots as possible to clear the platform area...



It's really a bit of a bummer that we didn't think to push on the slingshot ahead before... we probably could have gotten the basic version in, and it really made a much more compelling game, since rather than "use this cool tool to make a building... now use the same tool to destroy it..." there are two nice and distinct "aesthetic kinetic" phases.

It was great collaborating with so many clever people. Also, SJ, the organizer, assures me that the OLPC audience, school kids all over the world, is surprising voracious, and I think the game we made might actually get many more downloads and much more attention than most of the stuff I hack out on my own, so it was nice staying after to do it a bit better. (There are still tremendous ways of cheating, however... like dangling or flinging a brick over the tower area as time is up, and using the slingshot "backwards" to swipe bricks off rather than knock them out cannon-style.

The other games were pretty swell... rollcats was the belle of the ball, though some of the educators weren't as crazy about its simple puzzle mechanic, despite the lovely execution. My favorite among the other teams was "XO Olympics", an almost afterthought of a game where each player controls a kind of hopping triange to try and push volleyballs over to the other players goal... the interesting bit is each goal throws out the next ball (in the color of who scored a point) onto the field, but the old balls are never removed, so the scorekeeping becomes a part of the physics of the game... neat!


  ...of the moment  
geek rant: maybe after ~52 hours of python hacking I'd learn to put "self." in front of everything? Nope! Same w/ forgetting str() for ints
stepping into my dark bedroom after too too many hours of geekery, I longed for a sleepy, admonishing but sympathetic voice: "Hey, you..."

(14) ui war crimes
2007.09.01
Brief update, off to Rockport.

One quick gripe: I can forgive the current version of the iPhone software not supporting receiving and displaying MMS (multimedia messages) but ATT giving me a code I have to type in a web browser. I can even forgive, somehow, the link not being clickable in SMS and opening up in Safari. What I can't forgive, and find to be yet another misdemeanor against humanity, is generating a "pickup code" with characters and a font that's ambiguous. Upper case 'I'? Lower case 'L'? I can't tell, and I wasn't able to pick up my damn message. Do it all caps, or all numbers, or something, but think, people!

Video of the Moment

--Forgot where I saw this... brilliant, though.


(16) what did we learn this week, children?
2006.09.01
I learned a few things at this company and in this city:
  1. There was a gentleman working here who aways wore a turban. I have to admit that it never occurred to me that you could coordinate a turban with the shirt you were wearing, color-wise, much like I've been doing with shirts and ties all week, but now it makes perfect sense.
  2. There company had a room/closet labeled "medical needs". It had cupboards labeled with a sequence of letters. For some reason I was a little bit bothered about why there was a comfortable chair in the center of that small dark room, facing the cupboards, until I realized that it might make a discrete place for a nursing mother. (Or, I suppose, someone resting with a headache or some such.) There was also a digital clock right in front of the chair, rather that was something useful for such a situation, or more a nagging reminder that "times a-passin'!" I'm not sure.
  3. So Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the country. Though Massachuseets isn't far behind, surprisingly...but in the Denver area, I think you could really tell, especially in this high-rent area. It's a little funny how there's a correlation between being well-off and being fit, and we've changed as a culture, so that basic food needs are generally easily met.
  4. After a successful presentation of the new small application I developed for this company, one of the women mentioned that I was a bit if a brainiac, or a similar term. So I guess it's flattering that despite my self-perceived (or even hypochondriacal) mental deterioration over the years, I still read as "smart", even when I'm just trying to be "friendly" and/or "eager to please".
More as I think of it but I have to go pack.


(36) go crazy on a night like tonight
2005.09.01
Whenever we get to this time of year, I always find that one Indigo Girls lyric coming to mind...
i could go crazy on a night like tonight
when summer's beginning to give up her fight
The other thing I have to do these days is re-adapt to living at night, to cancel out the feeling that darkness means I should be safe back at home, possibly thinking about bed. It takes surprisingly long for me to reacclimate to driving in the dark.

I'm still proning to thinking that this latitude is way too far north for me. But friends and assorted loved ones, along with understanding the area, keep me here.

Sports Quote of the Moment
"There were some good things. There were some other things that weren't so good."
--Patriots coach Bill Belichick after the preseason loss against the Saints. The funny thing is that's ALL he says, in effect, for the entire thing. Man, reporting on the Pats must be a tough job sometimes. He sounds a tad last dour after the romp over Green Bay, but only barely. Of course, it's just the preseason.

Given the personal disasters many of the Saints players are having to deal with, I really hope the preseason victory over the "Superbowl Champs" isn't the highlight of their playing year.


Geekness of the Moment
At work we started talking about the geographical difficulties of New Orleans. Jokingly, my coworker mentioned that we should just get everyone in the USA to send a cup of dirt down so they can build it up. Well, intense feats of geekish estimation are now made easier with Google's built in calculator...I typed in "300,000,000 cups in cubic feet", got back around 2.5 million cubic feet. I've heard the water is 20 feet deep in places, so lets say we want it 10 feet deep...that's .25 million square feet, which is a square 500 feet on each side. Not enough dirt I'm afraid, even if we lower our standards for depth or somewhat increase the amount of dirt sent in per person.


(16) antihippopotamus
2004.09.01
Haiku of the Moment
Hippopotamus
Antihippopotamus
Annihilation
--Paul Blair, quoted in the game Kingdom of Loathing.

Prank of the Moment
Tip of the day: Take a screenshot of an error message, and set it as your desktop background. Move all your icons to other places on the screen so it looks like there's two of each. Move your taskbar to another side, or top of the screen. Log out of your computer and shut down. Then take it to a tech support guy and tell him how you get this error message every time your machine starts up that won't go away, and how there are two taskbars running and you have problems starting some of your programs. See how long it takes them to figure it out.
--UnavailableName IM'd me with that last night.

Ramble of the Moment
So I started a new determination to watch my eating and exercise two days ago. My first day I lost 4 pounds! I figure at that rate I'll weigh 80 something pounds by October. Or I can just lost 28 or so in a week, then quit...I don't know why people say dieting is so difficult.

Music of the Moment
The PRECURSORS do really great remixes of the music from the old Star Control 2 game...

Bad News of the Moment
Man, Hurricane Frances sounds like bad news. Sometimes it amazes me that we have an infrastructure that seems to whether stuff like Hurricane Charlie without too much hassle. (At least for people not in the immediate area.)

Lessee...seriously, this is only the fourth category 5 storm this year, and the first time since 1950 that two major hurricanes have hit Florida in a month. I think anecdotal evidence is building that the weather is seriously being broken...


(5) tote barge, lift bale
2003.09.01
Helping Jesse move today, might be light update-wise.

Hit an important milestone in JoustPong though--though there's still a lot I'd want to add to it, I could release the current version and think it a complete game. I guess I really should write up some instructions for playing it for people who haven't used atari emulator before.

Quote of the Moment
"Bees make honey and jelly? Huh. How come nothing humans make tastes good?"
-Fry, Futurama (on finding out about the "Royal Jelly" of the Space Bees.

(4) zap
2002.09.01
So I've started to dream in New Yorker Cartoons. Well, not really, but the other night I had a dream where I was looking through a book about them, complete with artist interviews and the like. The only one I remember (and it had the graphical style down) has a man in arab headgear standing in a living room, with his wife sitting on the couch, and a kind in a crib in between. The caption is the man saying "Yes, it's nice to be Prince Rudi Rannan of the Saudi province of Drunel. But when I'm working in the USA, I think it's good to have an SSN." I think the implication is normally being reduced to a number would be beneath the dignity of a prince, but since he wants a job here he'll give it a pass.

Links of the Moment
Is NY Defender an interactive political cartoon about the hopelessness of the struggle against terrorism, or just a little joke game in really bad taste? Slate had an article on online games as political commentary...they do seem to be the Internet equivalent of political cartoons, albeit with even less of a message than most.

Quote of the Moment
"Do not meddle in the affairs of cyborgs, for you are conductive and can support 110 volts."
--Wiredog, from this Slashdot article about 0wnz0red, a scifi short story that Salon just published. At the risk of spoiling the joke for those not geek enough to know, this is a play on "Do not meddle in the affairs of wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger" from Lord of the Rings. (Another frequent variation is "Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and good with ketchup.")

(6) madness takes its toll, have exact change
2001.09.01
Funny of the Moment
> "Man is certainly stark mad. He cannot make a worm,
> and yet he will be making gods by the dozens." -Montaigne

Yo' god so false, when you pray, you get a busy signal!

Yo' god so false, Pascal be wagerin' AGAINST him!

Yo' diety so low, he need a stool to pray to himself!

-Voltaire (via Ranjit on alt.religion.kibology)


Nutrition of the Moment
A Harvard Nutrition author wants to update the USDA Food Pyramid. It's not quite Atkins, but it does pay attention to things like 'glycemic load'. I have no idea how I'd go about getting more whole grains in my diet, or Plant Oils. Favorite quote: (talking about the author's personal habits)"'What about secret indulgences?' 'Sometimes I'll have some flavorful cheese or a bit of chocolate.'" Whew! What a wild man!

Game of the Moment
"Man! Those people down there look so small! Like Ants! Let me get out my giant novelty sized magnifying glass... ahh, good. Hey, what's that burning smell?" A wonderfully demented game, very well done, but not quite as rich a world sim as it may first appear. I love the name and logo of the site, bossmonster (via memepool)

KHftCEA 1999-09.1 September

KHftCEA 1999-09.1 September


While watching Bob + Carol + Ted + Alice (Waiting For Godot meets- uh- something) I wonder how boxers ever went out of style- "Ted's" jockey shorts are *awful*.
99-9-1
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< retrospect: 1 sep >