2010 February❮❮prevnext❯❯



--The game my team and I made for the 2010 Global Game Jam - "Sprinkle". Here is the game page for the Northestern University College of Creative Industries site where my team of 5 toiled from Friday 5PM 'til Sunday 3PM.

The game might be a little more complex than we intended - we were trying to go for not needing text, but... on the Title Screen click to get started. For the first level, you are able to drag the leaf... that's the only hint I'm gonna give. (Unless someone asks.) There are 9 boards in all, including the title and win screen.

The time not to become a father is eighteen years before a war.
E. B. White

Do I have any friends near SF who could help me with an art exhibit proposal? http://www.kokoromi.org/gamma4/one-button-objects/
...but the length promises larger ideas than the film finally delivers.
Janet Maslin (NY Times) on "Boogie Nights". Nice (midly) out of context quote, considering...

http://www.cleveland.com/living/index.ssf/2010/02/bill_watterson_creator_of_belo.html Calvin and Hobbes creator after the fact
Whoa. Bite a granny smith apple while eating a Bit O' Honey. Instant Ersatz Caramel Apple! Yum.
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-january-28-2010/speech-therapy - did the Republicans really set up their own SotU rebuttal podium? US of GOP?

cocktails for two

(1 comment)

--Ah, Spike Jones. Warning, the goofy noises starting around 1:38 can get stuck in your head.
Nothing is more conducive to peace of mind than not having any opinions at all.
Georg Christoph Lichtenberg.
Sometimes I'm worried I've taken that idea too much to heart.
http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2010/02/tf-the-illuminati.html - on Mike Warnke (can't believe I got suckered by him too...) and Tim "Left Behind" LaHaye
7 is the W of the numbers ten and under. Maybe we could all start abbreviating it to "sev".
Oh and Happy Groundhog Day. Again.
http://www.viceland.com/int/v16n12/htdocs/berkeley-breathed-273.php - Bloom County Berkeley Breathed, nice counter point to yesterday's Calvin and Hobbes retrospective interview.
http://www.asktog.com/columns/022DesignedToGiveFitts.html - but, UI wonks, if you're thinking of "Fitts' Law" first, you've already lost the game.
Slogan idea... "Toyota: You Can't Stop Us!" (I guess it's not much worse than their old "Toyota. Moving Forward.")
With poorly documented, under-studied, or forgotten APIs, a coder's sole hope is to guess at what SHOULD be there and go find evidence of it- bad luck if you think differently than the person who wrote it...

bang! splat! kapow!


--from Cracked's Study of Cartoon Violence

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=100209015 -- What Went Wrong On The Day Music Died?
The end of a M+M's commercial clearly showed cococut M+Ms. For some reason this got me really excited, something about chocolate-coated but small coconut bits sounds great. Alas, stores just have regular, peanut, dark chocolate, peanut butter, and almond. The almond's ok I guess.

this is caveman talk, honey

"Without a belief that you will be rewarded or punished after the end of your life--what drives morality among your people? . . . I know that you're a good person. Where does that goodness come from?"

"I behave as I do because it is right for me to do so . . . by the standards of my people."

"But where do those standards come from?"

"From . . . from our conviction that there is no life after death! . . . A person's life is completely finished at death; there is no possibility of reconciling with them, or making amends after they are gone. . . . If I wrong someone . . . under your worldview I can console myself with the knowledge that, after they are dead, they can still be contacted; amends can be made. But in my worldview, once a person is gone . . . then you who did the wrong must live knowing that person's entire existence ended without you ever having made peace with him or her."
Neanderthal- and Cro-Magnon-descendent discussing the afterlife in Robert J. Sawyer's "Hominids".
This passage is quoted in Gabriel McKee's "The Gospel According to Science Fiction", a survey of various SF books with religious implications my mom got me for Christmas
Man is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness from which he emerges and the infinity in which he is engulfed.
Blaise Pascal

Damn it, Google searches for "Romper Stomper" are dominated by some dumbass skinhead Russell Crowe movie. I miss the toy + show.
S'funny, kind of, how the old school bathroom white earbuds and synch cables clash with the new Apple look of glossy black with silver trim.
I love (read:hate) when an MS browser considers XML "active content" to be blocked -"DONT THEY KNOW HOW DANGEROUS INFORMATION CAN BE?"

the golden age of video

(1 comment)

http://projectionpoint.com/ - neat test; less about the accuracy of your T/F answers, more about how accurately confident you are - I got 81
I'm relieved but a bit weirded out that Boston doesn't seem slated to get the "Snowmageddon" the mid-Atlantic is bracing for.
http://slatest.com/ - this might be my new favorite way of keeping up with the news.

if browsers were women

sam: http://www.sharenator.org/If_browsers_were_women/
amber: sad about Chrome, kinda :-(
              I am switchin' to Safari!
sam: IE is my favorite on this list, truly. :-)
amber: shoulda had a Mosaic one!
sam: How about a gopher one?
amber: LOL!!!! I'd hate to see that!
It would look. 
         Like this.  
amber: or like this?
Email exchange (massaged into a convo) between Amber and her friend Sam.
I kind of misread it and thought the stick figure was a good representation of the old text-based web browser "lynx"... I never used "gopher" much, but they functioned in similar ways, so the same joke works with both...
When all you have is a hammer, a nail, and 95 theses, everything looks like a church door.

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/air_space/4344036.html how to (try and) survive a fall from 35,000 feet...
Battlestar Galactica the board game does a remarkable job of capturing the political infighting and hopeless despair of the series.

help is on the way

(1 comment)

--Elevator Panel Detail from 133 Federal Street in Boston, MA
Note to self: if the page you googled up about recording video on PC is talking about "Windows Millennium Edition" it's probably too old.
Things I am sick of: usb gadgets lacking 64-bit windows drivers. Endless Microsoft updates. Shitty HP hardware.
after the Superbowl Google Ad Hey, this Google thing looks pretty nifty! Ball's in your court, Altavista.



A very primitive braille2text translator. Unfortunately, it only does the most basic type of Braille, letter to letter translation (Grade One) As it turns out to do Braille properly, you need to translate hundreds of abbreviations and alternate characters. I was surprised I couldn't google someone doing this already... it's tricky, but you could probably get a good 90/10 solution in a day or two.

If there's any kind of interest I might try to enhance this so it can do a reasonable facisimile of Grade Two, but really I was kind of more interested in the UI of it.
Amazing football last night! Meanwhile, in NE, Belichick decides he can run EVERY damn aspect of the team. Has he done anything on his own?
http://harveyjames.livejournal.com/152287.html - Harveyjames' english lessons are the most amazing thing ever.
Remember "Pillow Book" where the she yells at him for having sloppy boring handwriting? Weirdly that makes me regret my bad penmanship.
Sigh. I suspected Microsoft was shoving yet another Update at my poor XP tablet when Firefox took minutes to load, and lo and behold...

harveyjames, teach of english


--Like I posted yesterday, Harveyjames may be the best teach of English to Korean students ever. Man, that sounds like it would be a cool classroom. Plus, I admire how in the first panel there, he manages to draw a feminine Becky, mostly via a kind of girly swayback stance.
Chamillionaire's "Ridin' Dirty" is sorta spoiled after the car crash by the guy who says "Damn! I done spilled my drink." Twice. In case you missed it. See, he was drinking!
I love the Dell laptop power bricks with built-in notched strap. Less pretty but more functional/packable than Apple's.

this can't be happening!!


To quote The Comic Curmudgeon:
I suppose that longtime readers of Blondie are supposed to know that spinning around on one’s head is an indicator of extreme, uncontrollable emotion of some kind, but to the casual viewer, it would just appear that Dagwood, Herb, and Daisy have chosen to express their football-related outrage with a stunning display of eerily synchronized breakdancing. Which I for one am totally in favor of.
It's kind of creepy if read it as a poltergeist kind of thing.
Dream vocabulary: Igknifify: to resolve a situation by plunging a knife into something or someone.
Escalators are mighty conveyor belts- that's a lot of cargo to haul up a flight!
http://quotableactionhero.blogspot.com/ - bad ass movie lines. The my favorite is my personal variant, "I came here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And I'm all out of ass."
A. i didn't know Taser was named after Tom Swift. B. I like how the "how Tasers work" section of Wikipedia is mess of [Citation Needed ]

no show snow


--Snow Plows in the Financial District - ready for action which never quite arrived. Boston got just a few inches in all...
Sawyer's scifi book "Mindscan" brings out the "philosophy of consciousness" idea of the zombie: a person who acts indistinguishably from a person but has no "inner consciousness". The book pushes an idea I hadn't heard, which is that we all have this kind of zombie, and it's the zombie acting when we're driving without thinking about it, or when we have to go back and reread a paragraph because we weren't paying attention. I don't buy the zombie/consciousness dualism though, nor do I think a person could convincing play a lively person 24/7 with "just" that kind of zombie - I don't think it would pass the Turing Test, for starters.
Thinking how little I like Gmail/Google's "Buzz". It's A. yet another thing to check if I want to find out what people are thinking, and B. it's convenient, but a distraction, because it pushes notification of public-ish announcements and musings into gmail, a space I generally have reserved and monitor for messages directed more specifically at me.
Valentine's Day is also Chinese New Year? And it's going to be Year of the Tiger? And I'm a Tiger? Oh, for awesome.

current mood:

(1 comment)

can't even focus on a coffee cup


Always loved this Chemical Brothers song--
Sunday morning I'm waking up
Can't even focus on a coffee cup
Don't even know who's bed I'm in
Where do I start
Where do I begin
There's a more literal video interpretation of the song with a pretty young woman in it, but it's not quite as magical
[Reading] "How much sex you do you think is had in the Olympic Village? My guess: A lot."
"...I think I hear that every Olympics."
"Hm, yeah. And maybe it's more, you know, after the events, they don't want to sex away their game."
"Well I don't think you can sex away, like, 'Curling'"
Me and Amber this morning

http://is.gd/8k2ct - no woman's ski jump in the Olympics, when the world record is held by a woman, sounds like total bullshit.
Ooh they're BRAND-NAME Advil... wow....

tyger tyger

Yesterday Amber and I drove up to her folks' in New Hampshire.

On the trip she suggested I draw her a Valentine's Day Tiger, in double honor of Valentine's Day and the Chinese New Year - the year of the Tiger, which happens to be my year.

Not my finest work, but it was a bumpy trip.

On her folks' fridge was a picture of her as a young girl --

I like both the color/light of that, and her bemused/startled expression... kind of a less glossy / less mean version of Jill Greenberg's work with kids portraits.
http://www.zefrank.com/valentine/ - so good - happy VD to you!
http://daphaknee.livejournal.com/833486.html - Dave Sim Valentines (http://is.gd/8nVIJ for context)


(1 comment)

--I dig the sound of this so much! Bummer it might read as a bit racist, because those are some terrific musicians, and some great dancers.

work (n.) 1. That which makes modern life simultaneously possible and impossible.
It's a Lincoln fetish. For tall girls... REALLY tall. With beards and stovepipe hats. I... shoot them, and leap out a window yelling 'Sic semper tyrannis!'

Maybe it's early sour grapes, but after a few weeks of "gee iPhone feels small", now it seems like iPhone beats iPad like Palm beat Newton.

lost-ly laughs

So yesterday I gave Amber the second part of her Valentine's Day gift (after a small pile of roses in her favorite color...) it was a pair of Caffeine molecular earrings, but the thing was I had ordered them for Christmas but they didn't arrive nearly in time, so then I repurposed them for Valentine's Day. And then Valentine's Day went by without me having time to retrieve them from my secret hiding spot and so they were for President's Day... I'm not the easiest boyfriend to have, sometimes...

Anyway we were watching DVR'd "Lost" last night... Amber's pretty patient in explaining all the stuff I haven't seen because of missing previous seasons... and the SPOILER WARNING revelation at the end was that Claire was still around, and seems to be bouncing around two different time lines, which led to this exchange...
Her: "They're all Claire"
Me: "No wait, not the fat guy - his name begins with 'H', like 'Hugo' or something...
"...Hurley? Wait, what, no -- they're not ALL Named Claire. They each have their own names."
"Oh, ok."
I'm not the easiest person to watch TV with, sometimes. But sometimes I'm funny... there was this Walmart add where this shlub guy is sheepishly standing around a Wal*Mart display, from seeing it before I know the set up is he's thinking about getting his girlfriend or wife something and then she shows up and points out what she wants, something like that. But since we're DVR'ing we zip past the commercial, and I suggested the replacement dialog
"Er, yeah, I was looking for the cheapest possible gift for my girlfriend..."
But then Amber topped it by following it up with
"...but then I remembered, wait! I still have that gift leftover from Christmas!"
Maybe you had to be there but I laughed and laughed. Touché... I dig having a funny girlfriend.
I became aware that the invincible power that has moved the world is unrequited, not happy, love.
Gabriel García Márquez, "Memories of My Melancholy Whores"

I am absolutely FLABBERGASTED to realize that Youtube is only five years old- the whole first half of the 00s were Youtubeless? 9/11 wasn't covered by it? Iraq? The end of the Curse of the Bambino? Wow. I would have put its origin at 1999, 2000, easy. (And I remember how impressive of an infrastructure feat it seemed at its origin.)
Supposedly the Oldest Known Recorded Joke is "Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: a young woman did not fart in her husband's lap".

Hmm. In trying to find the canonical top ten oldest jokes list, via the Dave Channel, I found out a page on my site is the top google match for
dave tv oldest jokes net fart lap "in silence"
And I don't think that has anything to do with the list I saw at http://tech.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1550900&cid=31151242
Take out the quotes and it goes to that list. Weird.
"Well, this should be relatively straightforward" is what I should have on my tombstone.
the snow at twilight has an apocalyptic feel, like maybe this is how the world ends after all

thor subject


"Sorry-- I totally forgot what we were just talking about."
"It's ok, it was more than 40 seconds ago"
"Do you know what that is in goldfish years?"

Just fired up DosBox and Windows 3.1. Man, I kind of forgot about the pre-task bar world.


It was a wet, heavy, sticky snow the other day... walking by Russell Field near Alewife I saw someone had made a really big snow fort/igloo thing... unfortunately they ducked inside before I could get a shot with them in the frame, for comparison...

Backyard the next morning.

After I took that shot, Amber txt'd and asked if I could get more shots with snow covered trees against blue skies - it was such a gorgeous clear day. Where I was in Brighton was a bit too urban to get shots of trees without powerlines and streetlights, but I did my best...

What does "faith" mean when the concept of "faiths" exists?
I kind of treat my iPhone as a humanist holy icon, providing direct guidance thanks to the Appigo ToDo app I have on it.

liberty and justice for all

(1 comment)

--Snuck this on the art magazine in Portugal...dig it.

Is, like, an iPhone more powerful than any computer I actually used during college in the early 90s?

it's the cheesiest


You look like a million dollars. All green and wrinkled.

I know companies put their names on their buses, and it's immature of me to chuckle at this, but I don't think I'd ride the "Hotard" bus.



blurble - source - built with processing

My entry to Klik of the Month Klub #32 it's a 2 hour game based on something I saw at openprocessing.org - http://www.openprocessing.org/visuals/?visualID=6417.

Not my greatest game, but I like the look and idea of it.
New England has its own mutant form of bowling, "candlepin". Imagine bocci as played by retarded pilgrims and you pretty much have it.
(That's with me as the special needs pilgrim of course. Shoulda gone for the bumpers!)
Yo mama like a hardware store..."
"Overpriced and always closed on Sunday?
Me and EB

"So what should we do tonight? Watch Lost? Read stuff?"
"...watch you scratch yourself?"
"...or watch me scratch myself! Ooh, baby, I got an itch I could scratch ALL night long"
"...Oh yeah... I think it may be some kind of rash, or maybe an infection..."
"...ooh, stop. No really. Stop."


(1 comment)

--Kjersten sent along this - pretty amazing, I've never seen such a good use of projected image and projected-upon surface...(you should probably go to the youtube page and see it at a larger size...)

Don't know much about New Zealand's web conference Webstock but somehow this reminds me of the old Mondo 2000 cyberpunk 'zine days of the early 90s, before the web really hit, but smart drugs and computers seemed to hold boundless potential...
I always liked this bit from Buckaroo Banzai: "The principles by which B. Banzai lives are known as the Five Stresses, the Four Beauties and the Three Loves. Things to be stresses are decorum, courtesy, public health, discipline and morals. The Four Beauties are the beauties of mind, language, behavior and environment. The Three Loves are love of others, love of justice and love of freedom." But I just realized it was cribbed: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5_Jiang_4_Mei_3_Reai
I wonder why Apple doesn't just put in some kind of Adult Content rating/advisory system, rather than yanking apps. Given how much control they have, it should be pretty easy to "think of the children" - do they think boobies would hurt the brand more than the money they could get?

plastic wasteland


--Making the rounds, this massive Lego steampunk-wasteland crawler is nothing but awesome.
If we water down the health care bill any more, it'll be homopathic.

It's weird that people often confuse those two pursuits. People who are into very theoretical computer science are thought of in this same way as people who are shipping desktop applications. And they don't really have a lot to do with each other.
jwz, in "Coders at Work"

What I learned today: unless you're at the equator, walking, say, due east is NOT walking in a straight line. (Walking east is staying at the same latitude, right? Now imagine doing that a few meters from the north pole. You'd obviously be walking in circles... at our latitude it's just a bigger circle.)
When and why did "wide mouth" become the standard for soda cans? Worry we weren't tossing the liquid into our gullets fast enough?

no show snowshow


--to quote RStevens, "Gotta love living on the East Coast sometimes. Otherwise, it's time to tie a noose." I'm just amazed how Boston might (MIGHT) dodge yet another big snow.
http://zenhabits.net/2010/02/ace-exams/ I'm fortunate in doing much of this kind of connection making intuitively - hides how smart I'm not.
Who is rich? He that is content. Who is that? Nobody.
Benjamin Franklin

I definitely go into avoidance behaviors when starting things. Starting is the hardest part, whether it's a program or a book or anything else. On the other hand, sometimes you remind yourself, 'Come on Josh; you've been doing this for three decades now, you know how to do it as well as most other people, so just go for it.' And you just sort of have to remind yourself that, 'Look, pretty much every other time you've tried to do this the results have been good, so they're probably going to be good this time too.
Joshua Block, Google's Chief Java Architect and author of 'Effective Java'.
Man, if HE can feel that way, maybe I shouldn't feel so bad when I do as well.
3 Dollars, 384 Quarters, 257 Dimes, 138 Nickels, 423 Pennies = $135.83 of Amazon goodness, from a not very big change jar.
Reading "Coders at Work" reminds me of how much I don't know in programming land. Need to get on that.
http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2010/02/the-nonprogramming-programmer.html - though if I start feeling too bad about myself, I kind of console myself my how many people I've interviewed who Just Can't Code. Or, at least not during an interview! That link has a link to a neat tool to have a virtual shared textarea so you can run a coding exercise during a phone screen...
DD's Triple Chocolate Donut (cake,frosting,chips) is unambitious- should get cream filling w/ chocolate wafers for slamdunk quintuple...

spider-man and the glory of teh intertubes

(1 comment)
One of the loveliest things about the web is how easy it is to research random trivia from our pasts. Lately (maybe because of someone making the reference to how it's always "spider-man" never "spider man" or "spiderman", or maybe because of rumors of a "gritty" reboot of the movie franchise - I don't think it needs to be gritty but I kind of wished they had avoided the Villain Potpourri in the last film) I was thinking about old Spider-Man covers.

It turns out Coverbrowser.com is an awfully good site for quickly browsing huge swaths of comic covers, though Sam Ruby's site was useful for pointing out which of the series were a bigger deal...

Anyway, I remember seeing a cutting from this used on, like, curtains or something at my cousin's house. I always thought it was funny to include such a scene of defeat, but I guess it's part of the whole Peter Parker thing.

This cover they used as a promo in other comics I was reading at the time (probably Transformers?)

Finally, this one was my screen wallpaper for sometime in the late 90s. It just seemed kind of cool...

Heh, Handre's video game "fan art" http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=89035 vs. original box art for Atari ST's "Alien Syndrome" http://www.coverbrowser.com/covers/atari-st-games#i7
One difference between iPhone and Android: does a PDA/game non-phone version of the latter (like the iPod touch) sound appealing to many? And like I said, Android is kinda fragmented, but iPhone is likely to offer me a clean upgrade path for a long, long time.
Because the problem with object-oriented languages is they've got all this implicit environment that they carry with them. You wanted a banana but what you got was a gorilla holding the banana and the entire jungle.

If you have referentially transparent code, if you have pure functions-- all the date comes in its input arguments and everything goes out and leaves no state behind-- it's incredibly reusable.
Joe Armstrong, inventor of Erlang

I heard about a computer science department where in the tutor's office they had a stuffed animal and the rule was you had to explain your problem to the stuffed animal before you could bother the tutor. "OK, Mr. Bear, here is the thing I'm working on and here's my approach--aha! There it is."
Peter Seibel, interviewing Joe Armstrong in "Coders at Work"

http://unrelatedcaptions.com/ - strangely compelling



Guess this requires Microsoft's Silverlight plugin... this was made in Small Basic, a cute little IDE/language not entirely dissimilar form my beloved Processing - a less powerful language but a much slicker IDE. (Ha, nice to see them port the old QBASIC classic Gorillas.)

It was cool that they threw in a Logo-ish turtle... but it's funny how this compares unfavorably to Atari LOGO, with its 4 turtles and collision events and all.

this page seems to be a decent starting point for Small Basic.
http://www.simple-talk.com/dotnet/.net-tools/microsoft-small-basic-for-.net/ -
Small BASIC. I often lament how computers don't boot into BASIC - that was important for where I am now. Guess this could in theory help.
I liked PocketC, little IDE for writing/running stuff on Palm. Wonder if I could make an iPhoneable Javascript-based clone-ish thing.
Cnn.com says "Massachusetts was averaging 22 inches across the state". Boston: zero inches. Someone in MA must be getting a LOT for that avg.
http://brenelz.com/blog/firebug-in-ie-a-dream-come-true/ - firebug lite for IE... a bit glitchy, but better than nothing
I took a Meyers-Briggs test. Turns out I'm a "Briggs."

Just a few weeks until Daylight Savings - hooray!

rotatin' rocket race

(1 comment)
To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
rrr - source - built with processing
My first entry for THE 371-IN-1 KLIK & PLAY PIRATE KART II: KLIK HARDER. (You can see the current list of games)
Amber caught me multitasking: standing eating pizza, petting the cat, dancing to music, and THINKIN' ABOUT WRITING GAMES! http://www.glorioustrainwrecks.com/node/437


To view this content, you need to install Java from java.com
dorkicus - source - built with processing
A two player game made for THE 371-IN-1 KLIK & PLAY PIRATE KART II: KLIK HARDER. (You can see the resulting list of games)
It makes me feel weirdly good that the second Google hit for "atan2" is the Processing.org site.

2010 February❮❮prevnext❯❯