2012 January❮❮prevnext❯❯



That was quite the party at Erica and Todd's!

There was blind wine sampling and some blindfolded taste testing.

Here I am eating something Japanese, and Cherry, and Jelly-ish.

Amber, firing up laptop: "Let's see if Facebook is more interesting in 2012!"
"I can't imagine being anything except an actress."
"You can't be much of an actress then, can you?"

No Shame in Good Enough Code -- as an added bonus, a concise, goal-oriented codebase is so much easier to grok and adapt. Programmers should stop pretending they know the future...

annual media roundup

Welcome to the 12th edition of my own personal gamification of watching movies, reading books, and playing games...

Compared to last year, few of the numbers moved that much.

Like last year I rated things, though I found my scale has changed. Nothing received the lowest 1 star rating. 2 starts, marked here in gray, were disappointments. 3 star things matched my expectations for them. 4 stars, marked in red, I'd recommend freely and enthusiastically, and 5 star things are in red and ALL CAPS and are just terrific.

Movies at the Cinema (13)
Battle: Los Angeles, Sucker Punch, The Adjustment Bureau, Hanna, Source Code, X-Men: First Class, Midnight in Paris, Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Pt 2, Real Steel, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Hugo, The Artist

"The Adjustment Bureau" was some great sci-fi in the mold of Inception. "Hugo" was simple fun with a nice bit of homage to the earliest films, and "The Artist"'s fun with the form and content of the silent movie was just terrific, I'm happy it exists.

Movies on Video (50)
Jeffrey, Mystery Men, Salt, Dinner for Shmucks, Sunshine Cleaning, SHORT BUS, Chasing Amy, Lars and the Real Girl, Silent Running, FRIDA, Killing Me Softly, Waiting for Superman, Family Guy Star Wars Trilogy, Sliding Doors, Arthur, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Havoc, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, Starz Inside: Comic Books Unbound, Gulliver's Travels, Karate Kid, Snatch, MirrorMask, Confederate States of America, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, Hot Tub Time Machine, True Grit, Cinema Paradiso, Almost Famous, Wild Target, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Trainspotting, Exit Through the Gift Shop, Megamind, The Departed, All the Real Girls, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Wonder Woman, Bridesmaids, Saving Silverman, Superbad, Star Wars: A New Hope, Beavis and Butthead Do America, Best in Show, Crazy, Stupid, Love, Party Girl, Catch-22, WILT

Shortbus was crazy sexy fun, Frida is artistically terrific, and Wilt, a short from German, is the best horror short I've ever seen, more on that as I find out ways to direct people to it.

TV Shows (15)
The Office: Season 6, Modern Family Season 1, Caprica Season 1.5, Mad Men Season 4, Archer, BETTER OFF TED SEASON 1, Game of Thrones Season 1, BETTER OFF TED SEASON 2, GREEN WING SEASON 1, GREEN WING SEASON 2, Parks and Recreation Season 1, Parks and Recreation Season 2, Parks and Recreation Season 3, Shameless Season 1, Shameless Season 2

What can I say, there's so much TV out there that we're able to stick with really good series for the most part. "Better Off Ted" and "Green Wing" are funny, funny, funny.

Books (60)
Extra Lives, How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The Elements, Why We Suck, Book of Secrets, Bathroom Book of Canadian Quotes, Afterzen, Auntie Mame, JavaScript; The Good Parts, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Everything Explained Through Flowcharts, Adjustment Team, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World , The Girl Who Couldn't Come , Kill Screen Issue 3: Intimacy, Two Is Enough, World War II: Extraordinary Facts and Stories, Man's Search for Meaning, ACCELERANDO, The Final Hours of Portal 2, Strangeland, The Pregnant Widow, L.A. Noire, Worldwar: In the Balance, The Big Book of American Humor, Kill Screen Volume 4: Shared Play, The Wee Free Men, Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me, Farewell, My Lovely, Gender Advertisements, Fletch, The War Nerd, CONSTELLATION GAMES, Rule 34, Ready Player One, THE ADVANCED GENIUS THEORY, Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives, Eating the Dinosaur, 50 Religious Ideas You Really Need to Know, Life Among the Lutherans, Nude in the Tub, Snuff, Pilgrim in the Microworld, The Soloflex Story: An American Parable, Richard Matheson, The Making of Prince of Persia, Videogames Hardware Handbook Vol.2, RetroGamer Collection Vol. 5, Sex at Dawn, Steve Jobs, Monster Island, Retro Micro Games Action Vol 4, Designing for Emotion, Kill Screen 1.5, 50 Physics Ideas You Really Need to Know, Star Wars vs Star Trek, 11/22/63, Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, American Nerd, The Cleanest Race

"The Advanced Genius Theory" was smart pop-culture analysis. "Accelerando" and "Constellation Games" are both terrific pieces of sci-fi... I read early drafts for my friend Leonard Richardson... you can (and SHOULD) check out the current e-book serialization of it at Candlemark and Gleam.

Comics (29)
Dread & Superficiality: Woody Allen as Comic Strip, Breakdowns: Portrait of the Artist as a Young %@&*!, Ignition City, The Killing Joke, Alien Legion: Grimrod, Henry & Glenn Forever, Aetheric Mechanics, I Swallowed the Key to my Heart 2, THE GOLEM'S MIGHTY SWING, Portal 2: Lab Rat, I swallowed the Key to my Heart, Interplanetary Spy 7: Rebel Spy, Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow, Market Day, Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Huntington, West Virginia "On the Fly" , The Punisher: Barracuda, Black Orchid, Star Wars Empire Vol. 7, Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection: 1987-1991, Save Yourself, Mammal, Zot! Book One, M.F.A., Boston Security Officer 1, Hark! A Vagrant, Oglaf, The Most Dangerous Game, Local Heroes, A Long Day of Mr. James Teacher, The Best of the Rejection Collection

Again, a lot of good stuff, but "The Golem's Mighty Swing is a majestic and moving piece of art, an old favorite. I'd also like to add how impressed I am with Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, maker of "Save Yourself Mammal!" and "The Most Dangerous Game" -- it is a funny, daily comic that gives xkcd a run for its money.

Video Games(13)
Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja, Sly Spy: Secret Agent, Portal 2, Portal 2 Co-op, Earth Defense Force Insect Armegeddon, Earth Defense Force Insect Armegeddon, ENDI Tank Battle, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Gears of War 3, Saints Row the Third, Yahtzee Adventures, Star Fox 64 3D, Mario Kart 7

I think the strongest recommendation here is actually "Saints Row the Third", a refreshingly unpretentious and exuberantly violent funfest in the GTA-ish open world genre.

i'm stuck on ipad, 'cause ipad's stuck on me

Thanks to work I'm upgrading my iPad to a 2. But I'll miss the stickers on the old guy:

The main things which seem to me important on their own account, and not merely as means to other things, are knowledge, art, instinctive happiness, and relations of friendship or affection.
Bertrand Russell

Don't be both Homer and Odysseus--at least not at the same time.
Van Webster

When you make a mistake on the trumpet, make it a big one.
Bob Demmon

The Rise and Rise of Javascript; I need to get into node.js and underscore.js looks intriguing...
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/2011/12/osx-vs-windows-redux.html -- UI dev ramble on Win vs OSX modifier keys, fun fun fun!
There's some luck in every good thing that you earn. Gratitude can't be optional.
The iPad has super shitty, well nigh non-existent, bulk image select for deleting, nor anything in solution. #applefail #gimmethe4gigsback

on making games

As gamers, we bring to the world some very special gifts. We move forward at lightning speed and embrace technology and invention in a way that surpasses every group of people that has ever come before in all of history. To play it safe in this business is to deny our inner nature. It is to deny our responsibility to the world and to the players. To not take risks is to go against the very principles of fun and risk that define the art of game development.

In short, This Is Gaming. If you're not exposing your players to anything new, then you are just asking them to connect dots. Connect-the-dots is not a game.

God put you on this planet along with the other game makers that you might complete your mission, a crucial part of which is scaring the crap out of your investors.

You are to do this by exposing those investors to your brilliant but untried ideas. And if the thought of that investor walking out the door with his money is too frightening for you, and because of that, you can only bring yourself to propose ideas "that work" and "that people like," then you are not a game maker, you have no idea what makes games fun, and it is morally imperative that you go into another business. You might try selling soap. People always need soap. And if you don't want to do sell soap, then take risks. Start with the Big Risk, where John and John started: Dedicate your life to your work. And then, you gotta go past them, you gotta innovate, you gotta keep on going.
George "The Fat Man" Sanger from Tasty Morsels of Sonic Goodness: The Fat Man on Game Audio

The book "The Fat Man on Game Audio" talks about Nudie, the guy who made rhinestone cowboy suits and dressed Elvis http://www.nudiesrodeotailor.com/
[Oh my foes and oh my friends, when the Devil counts, he starts at zero.]
The Fat Man

@fivethirtyeight State with highest voter turnout in general elections should have first presidential contest. Reward Democracy.

cats. yawning.


Amateur programming might save your career! (Wish "recreational programming" was more of a thing.)
Marilyn Monroe was tiny. No wonder we're depressed in a world of ubiquitous cameras that add 10 pounds! The article has some interesting thoughts and even some tips.
http://z0r.de/L/z0r-de_3714.swf if you need a quick laugh. (Warning: makes noise.)
So iPad connected to Windows offers oddly half-assed file system support; deletes failed w/ misleading error. Feel disempowered, but they probably don't care much because they want everyone trusting The Cloud anyway.
Ebert's take on movie laws and cliches, ala TV Tropes.
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/ -- latest in my devblog, the juicy(ish) bouncy topicgrid!

history of controllers


detail, click for full

--Original found here
Whatever happened to Google's "view cached version of this page"?
Note to future self: files w/ green filenames in Win7 Explorer (from Mac-using coworker) are "encrypted"- look under Properties|Advanced
Steve Anderson on the pros and cons of unit tests and how to do it right:
Many in our industry claim that any unit tests are better than none, but I disagree: a test suite can be a great asset, or it can be a great burden that contributes little.
Good stuff, and points out some of the reasons I have embarrassingly little interest in unit testing.
I had a bacon mcgriddle for the first time today. It was like eating a baby angel.

kiss me you tool

(1 comment)

--from 21 fantastically rare Star Wars behind-the-scenes photos
int main(){
  } else if(Ordered(Human)){
  else if(Danger(Self)){
  cout << "Hello World!";

Just semi-impulse bought a Sousaphone. Tuned to Eb and has a valve that needs fixing but hey- cheap tuba! First I've ever owned.

tuba or not tuba

(1 comment)
Bought a tuba last night! Or rather a Sousaphone, specifically an model tuned to Eb (a bit higher than the Bb I'm a little more used to.) I need to get the third valve repaired, but the price was right, mid-200s. Craiglist can be like magic sometimes.

These were the photos that sold me...

Who can resist photos like that? Well despite the broken valve button. (The other photos showed off the rather nice case it came with.)

I've never owned a tuba before, it's one of those big instruments that a group will often provide a student-aged player, like percussion. After college, I didn't want to seek out a group because I didn't have my own horn, and I didn't want to get a horn because I didn't have a group to play it in. Also...

I dunno, I really never really loved the concert band music where I think most of the tuba openings might be. In retrospect, my favorite music to play was the dumb, simple, fun stuff of marching band and pep band, not the more stuffy pieces of concert bands and orchestras.
Romney talking about the last years being "a detour not a destination" - GOP playing on bad memory, how the mess started way before Obama.
Broncos do one of those "12th Man" shticks? I'd assume Denver's real 12th Man was the altitude and lack of oxygen.

New Blender of Love Digest

(Amber suggested the art-- brilliant!)

John Huntsman PAC spot... "the world is literally collapsing around us" Really? F'in idiots.
Hail Mary, full of grace,

But hail Vishnu, just in case.

the joy of geekness


--from Geeks Vs Non-Geeks via Masukomi the other night.
http://slate.me/yqIb4q -- another reason to distrust this batch of the GOP, they can't tell a damn joke. (Optimism my ass, Romney, be funny)
He who begins by loving Christianity better than truth, will proceed by loving his own sect or Church better than Christianity, and end in loving himself better than all.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Horse-and-sparrow economics: if you feed enough oats the horse, some will pass through to feed the sparrows.
J.K. Galbraith on trickle-down economics

When the weather is damp / I still walk with a lamp.

With my terrible sore throat my guffaw laugh sounds kind of like "Muttley", a little more sibilant -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKm5xQyD2vE
"He's in a coma-- they don't think he'll wake up--"
"Have they tried-- oh no, they probably have..."
Special Finale of "Pulling"
SO FUNNY-- maybe it was the delivery, or how much we've seen of the characters, but I laughed and laughed and laughed....

what the kids are listening to these days


Wow. That is the most informative use of human beat box I've ever witnessed. (It was a cooler animated text thing)
http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2012/01/prisoners-of-style-201201 Wow. Style has treaded water for 2 decades. (And Wall St has morphed into extracting dollars not making value.) Huh.

android prime


--I just loved this Optimus Prime-as-Android-mascot from the story Hasbro sues Asus over Transformer Prime tablet...
Is copy and pasting the font/color/etc along with the content ever useful? Seems like a terrible and annoying confusion of data and metadata

got a good beat and you can dance to it


--"Weightless"...supposedly the most relaxing music in the history of everything.
Someone should remake VH1 "Popup Video". Maybe with those little popups they have on youtube. Can you add those to someone else's videos?
"We've been called on a mission here we feel- and we could be wrong- we don't have perfect knowledge, let me assure you."
Surprised by even the admission of possibility of incorrectness!
80% of your favorite language is your favorite library.

man kermit needs to lay off the sauce


MIT #mysteryhunt today- it's not the event to go to if you want to keep feeling smart. I think the large teams on it could cure cancer if it was setup as part of a puzzle.



see remake here
(Java broke)

thermo - source - built with processing

A little app I wrote to help with a puzzle in the MIT Mystery Hunt. In the end it didn't help much, but at the time it helped make sure that the metadata of where the "thermometers" were was correct and then generated C++ code that was part of a larger brute force solver we were running on a server farm.
MIT #mysteryhunt despite the game structure is opposite of gamification: the puzzles are so difficult, toiling has zero assurance of result
The whole sadomasochistic vibe of puzzle makers over the puzzle solvers is starting at the MIT #mysteryhunt is wearing me down.
Personally, I think the whole 'free will' thing smacks of entrapment.

morning conversation

"Wow, 50 people are missing in an Italian cruise accident."
"Yeah, sounds horrendous, like a real life Titanic."
"...Titanic was real life."
Amber and Me, this morning over pancakes and the Sunday New York Times

On the day the world ends, be happy. If you accomplished a lot, you won the game. - If not, you bet on the right horse!

mass moca in december

(1 comment)
Last December Amber and I took a weekend mini-break to Western Mass, the centerpiece of which was a daytrip to MASS MoCA. This contemporary art museum is about as far west as you can be and still be in Mass.

For more information you can check out this Artsy.net page about Sol Lewitt as well.
Pound for pound, the amoeba is the most vicious animal on earth.



This is an interactive HTML5/processing.js art piece inspired by Sol LeWitt's Wall Drawing 797 as mentioned in my photos from MASS MoCA blog entry yesterday.

Use the mouse to act as the first drafter and draw an irregular horizontal line near the top of the space, the computer will act as the second through fourth drafters and try to copy it in red, yellow, and blue markers, until the bottom of the space is reached.

Press any key to toggle "fast draw" mode.

This HTML5 Canvas app won't work in IE: instead, IE users can try the Java version.
http://xkcd.com/945/ ... I guess sympathtic "I'm sorry..."s always carry an implicit "...that there's nothing I can do to really help"
Looking at all ten pages of my Amazon wishlist. Man, stuff from 7 or 8 years ago, when I still wanted CDs.

mark twain in color

(1 comment)

--To promote her photo restoration services, Swedish artist Sanna Dullaway colorizes icon images. via 22 words, with 9 more examples including Lincoln-- see her deviant art page as well, which has that icon VE day kiss in Times Square.

So easy to start thinking of the old world as black and white, though Calvin's Dad explained that that's the correct viewpoint anyway.
Our health is a voyage and every illness is an adventure story.
Magrid Evans

The measure of success is not whether you have a problem to deal with, but whether it's the same problem you had last year.

The problem with sweeping a girl off her feet, Sammy, is that you have to keep on sweeping. Love doesn't work that way.
Joseph Heller, "Closing Time"

If God can do anything, he can make a mistake.
Joseph Heller, "Closing Time"

Holy cow. With SOPA would we have no http://drunkronswanson.com/ ?
McArdle on how NYC's reversal to better fortunes probably depended on the financial sector boom.
http://kirkdev.blogspot.com/2012/01/simple-slot-machine-effect.html - a simple (well nigh trivial!) jQuery slot machine effect demo'd on my UI Devblog.

teacher! teacher! teacher! teacher!


--via. Fun accent!
Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.
Soren Kierkegaard

warhol buying campbell's soup


"I thought gunpoint and knifepoint were real places. I promised myself I'd never go near them since it seemed like everyone who went there got robbed. I was about 14 or 15 when it clicked."

"God, why did we buy a house in gunpoint? This was a terrible decision!"

never meta joke i didn't like

At work, I don't make 420 jokes, which might violate company policy, but I do make metajokes with Hannah. (At this point, it might be a metameta joke.) I appreciated her screen capture, tasteful cropping (or at least to the point of plausible deniability) and posting to FB.
I dunno. I'm kind of foreseeing a monoculture world where everyone buys anything via Amazon Prime and all computers and phones are Apple's.



Tendrils is a game I made for Glorious Trainwreck's Klik of the Month #55.

You can also just sit and watch the organic oddness of it!

This is the HTML5 Processing.js version. IE users can play the java version
Man, BattleTanx Global Assault for the N64. What a fine game, that really knows what it's about.
Yikes Robert Kraft man-kisses as embarrassingly as he high-fives! and that game- talk about by the skin of their teeth...
That kid from the show "Touch"-- I want him on my MIT #mysteryhunt team next year (we led lower half of standings, good for small team)

books books books!


--via Amber's Dad
Patriots have now beaten a team with a > .500 record! Hooray! (Superbowl is gonna rely on being bit more "Any Given Sunday" than I'd like..)

hey einstein!


People slowly accustomed themselves to the idea that the physical states of space itself were the final physical reality.
Professor Albert Einstein
I grew up with this cartoon in one of those big New Yorker compendiums. I'm still not sure I really know what the quote fully means, but it came up in my UU "Science and Spirituality" group reading. It's intriguing how the concept of relatively might've influenced some of the post-modern, "there is no objective stance" pop-culture thinking that came later.
Enjoying a Jr Sized Frosty from Wendy's, gotta use that booklet of 10 I bought before Halloween before February...
Man, screw AT+T and iPhones. If the service actually is "Searching", say so. #attfail

things look so much bigger on tv


--via the Criterion Collection (thanks Diane)
Huh. I think the Kindle Fire is a better commute reader than the iPad. And I tote a MacBook Air on general principles. Guess iPad is still better as a home machine, for twitter and browsing and misc. fun apps.

'sucker punch': the good parts version


Found looking for Glitch Mob music-- their cover of the White Stripe's Seven Nation Army is evocative.
English has too many emotions, or it has not enough punctuation marks.

@kirkjerk @ExciteMike @daphaknee Hey guys, Nerd != Manchild. Nerd is somebody who uses != to mean "not".



List of words containing "meow": meow, meowed, meowing, meows, homeowner

uruguay is a-ok


I'm doing the Global Game Jam again this year...a 48-hour world-wide make-a-team,then make-a-game fest, with MIT/Gambit Lab as my generous hosts. Every year they make a nice keynote video. The middle section queued up here by Gonzalo Frasca was REALLY inspiring, just the greatest tale of how it's ok to be the little guy.
At the Global Game Jam-"Snakebits" is coming along, but I'm getting crispy. Favorite variable name so far: "boolean itsOkItsALadder;" #ggj12
Funny "Big Lebowski" Poster in the MIT/Gambit lab kitchen:

Works on two or three levels of funny.


So this weekend my team of 4 or so made this game:

click to play

(Here's the official ggj site about it.) It came out well. I was especially pleased with the level of graphic design we got on it. It's a variant of Snake/Nibbles, where you're a snake who has to protect its gems from the maurading peasants. Unlike traditional "Snake", you can cross your own body, and in fact you have to bite your own tail, because this was this year's official GGJ theme:
That's the Ouroboros (Can I just say that is a crazily sexually charged image? Such a weirdly wonderful combination of the masculine phallus and a more feminine/Yonic shape...)

Some teams at MIT/Gambit took it literally (like Hoopsnake who absolutely had the funniest entry) and others as a more figurative symbol of recurrence and rebirth.

My favorite other entry was Sleepwalking Backwards, an emo-ish (in a good way) art piece that actually ran on a C=64.

So it was a good weekend. Like last year's sredavni (invaders backwards) I'm a little worried that my project was a bit of a genre piece, but I guess if a bunch of people are going to sink a whole weekend into something, it makes sense to be a bit conservative and end up with a fun quality thing, rather than force something to be more experimental.


It's Draw A Dinosaur Day!
This is my velocipediraptor.
Now go draw a dinosaur and post it on the site!

http://t.co/sEXifOs9 - Amber's always observant of developers being off by a factor of 2 or 3 in their time estimates, this detailed "software as a long hike" metaphor nails some of why that is.
sir, i believe we built this city on rock and roll- what do you mean it has basically no infrastructure?! what happened to the crazy train?!

Ever since I saw a photo w/ a student wiring up "a cube of 4,096 individual LEDs" in The Tech I wanna know more about MIT's Bad Idea Weekend -- http://bad-ideas.mit.edu/ is still too lite in information.
BTW where did Google Calendar settings go? Now when I click on the gear all I see is changing the damn look and feel. #googlefail
That the Lumières Brothers had that name and went on to be major pioneers in inventing the moving picture camera is beautiful.



--via 22words
#joke: Q: What's brown and smells like dog poop? A: Dog poop.

The GOP race is between a man who wants a colony on the moon and one who thinks God will give him his own planet.

Time moves in one direction, memory in another. We are that strange species that constructs artifacts intended to counter the natural flow of forgetting.
William Gibson

Truly, there is something in the quality of a good translation that can never be captured in the original.
William Gibson

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stelarc - posthumanism among us.

2012 January❮❮prevnext❯❯