Here's a little gem I just found on the interwebs: an interview with Michael Bywater. Michael is an astounding wordsmith; writer of my favourite columns in Punch and allegedly slept with my boss. Not my current boss, mind you.
My main memories are of course of Anita. And her bull terrier, Murdoch. And of the chaotic offices in the ancient and haunted part of London called The Borough, a warren of streets and alleys on the south side of London Bridge…
Even things like Myst - which, hell, was just a droopy post-hippie HyperCard stack with a rather good music loop -- were way below the level of Magnetic Scrolls or Infocom in narrative terms. So the era came to an end.
My time at Magnetic Scrolls was a wonderful time of my life and I enjoyed every moment of it. Hopefully this article will give you some sense of what it was like for the non-engineering folks who passed our way.
…Computer Science (CS) education is neglecting basic skills, in particular in the areas of programming and formal methods. We consider that the general adoption of Java as a first programming language is in part responsible for this decline. We examine briefly the set of programming skills that should be part of every software professional’s repertoire.
Another interesting quote:
It [Texas A&M] did [teach Java as the first language]. Then I started teaching C++ to the electrical engineers and when the EE students started to out-program the CS students, the CS department switched to C++.
Definitely worth a read.
I've have been worrying for some time that the core programming competence of candidates coming out of colleges has been dropping over the years as the “helpful” languages proliferate and the spectrum of languages that students are exposed to declines…
The Queen has taken a bold stride into cyberspace by launching her own channel on the video-sharing website YouTube. The Royal Channel launches today as Buckingham Palace seeks to promote Britain's monarch to a youthful global audience.
While aides were utterly convinced it was the way forward, the 81-year-old Queen - who only recently mastered emailing and had never used a personal computer until two years ago - was not immediately acquainted with the YouTube phenomenon. But after the concept was explained to her by, among others, her granddaughters Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie - both avid Facebook fans - she personally approved the channel's go-ahead after viewing its contents.
To pull off tickets this year will require ultimate networking gamesmanship. Facebook is for weenies and posers when you need the real shit like Sun’s tickets.
That’s why while everyone is yacking about Facebook and now Google’s Open Social blah blah blah, you should remember that a friendly round of golf with some connected people is the way to get shit done.
Just so happens that I was golfing at Bandon Dunes with the head of Sun’s tickets. Random but relevant. Stay with me. He could give a rat’s ass about Facebook and Wallstrip and my personal blog and Techmeme. He does remember my sweet 74 that pocketed him $400 bucks…
Rock! This completely takes the ideas that other products such as Microsoft's Photo Story 3 have run with and raises the bar through the roof.
Animoto is an interesting product, from an interesting group of people:
Animoto Productions is a bunch of techies and film/tv producers who decided to lock themselves in a room together and nerd out.
Their first release is Animoto, a web application that automatically generates professionally produced videos using patent-pending technology and high-end motion design. Each video is a fully customized orchestration of user-selected images and music. Produced on a widescreen format, Animoto videos have the visual energy of a music video and the emotional impact of a movie trailer.
The heart of Animoto is its newly developed Cinematic Artificial Intelligence technology that thinks like an actual director and editor. It analyzes and combines user-selected images and music with the same sophisticated post-production skills & techniques that are used in television and film.
Despite the buzzword and PR heavy description, it looks like they're onto something. Man, they even have a press kit!
Congratulations! Please accept our offer to become part of EA's rich game making history and future.
I am pleased to offer you a regular full-time position with Electronic Arts as President, EA Sports commencing on a mutually agreeable date at a base salary of $45,833.33 per month or $550,000 annualized, minus applicable deductions. You will be reporting directly to me.
Last week I found iGTD, a native Mac application that appears to do everything right. An uncluttered yet functional UI; keyboard shortcuts for everything; integration with QuickSilver hierarchical projects; notes and everything you could wish for..
But most of all, it just works.
Highly recommended for you list-makers, GTD faithful and everyone who wants some sanity in their cluttered lives.
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg implies that I'm an old fart with no potential and that I wouldn't get hired there due to my age and, as of three days ago, my impending fourties…
Handily Matt Mullenweg, himself a mere whippernapper, is on the ball with his consistently thoughtful (and of course, beyond his years) analysis
I'm inclined to agree more with Mitch. Biasing your decisions based on something completely out of someone's control, specifically the year they were born, seems as likely to have correlation to talent and success in a company as gender, race, or anything else that everyone knows doesn't matter. It's not what you're born with, it's what you make of it.
Recently (i.e. it seems like forever), the boy has been testing my patience more and more - to the point that I just lose it and want to curl up in a ball because I can't react like a man would to another man winding him up in a similar fashion…
When I have a problem that concerns one of my kids (meaning: When I want them to do something that they refuse to do), I see that I have a choice. I could visualize my child standing on the other side of a line, next to “The Problem”, with me yelling across the line, “Hey, you better solve ”The Problem.“ Instead, I get myself to stand next to my child, with ”The Problem“ alone on the other side of the line, with me putting an arm around my child, saying ”Hey, you and me, we're gonna defeat “The Problem” together." I find that this attitude seems to make my kids feel better about themselves. It minimizes/eliminates shame.
This approach is actually working well. I am so in debt to the ParentHacks folks that anytime they're in the Seattle area, beers are on me!
This is laugh-out-loud funny! Well, it is if you're a Flight Sim geek or the one partially responsible for the “what matters are the cool graphics” moments and married to someone who grew up having to endure Bollywood constantly playing in the house…
How did I stumble upon this? Well, David and I went to school together at Downlands County Secondary School (when did it change it's name to “Community School”?) in Hassocks (where I grew up) and Haywards Heath Sixth Form College (what's with the “Central Sussex College” thing?) in the south of England - both of us pretty much geeks! In fact we sold games that we'd written for the ZX Spectrum games and shipped them out on little plastic bags amongst other geeky activities.
We lost touch after we both went to our respective Universities, but happily he stumbled upon my blog a couple of years ago and we reconnected. Every now and again he sends me another great idea. Most of these ideas are utterly fascinating, if very off the wall. And sometimes they just make a lot of sense, even if potentially impossible to implement due to infrastructure inertia.
Hopefully David's website won't explode under the traffic sent his way…
David hadn't seen the article before I sent some congratulations his way, to which he jokingly responded (and I hope he doesn't mind me quoting him): “If I'd known it was going to go public I'd have spent more than 30 mins writing it! :-)”
I gave up two years of my life writing about gadgets for this site. Waking up every morning at 5 AM, chewing up press releases to find the rare morsel of legitimate information, chasing down “hot tips” that ended up being photochops of iPods with reflections of genitals in the touchscreens. Oh, and the worst: fielding emails from PR parasites eager to suck away precious time in a half-hour phone meeting while the Senior Vice-President of Smoke Blowing tells me about how his company's software—based on an idea cribbed from Google-is going to change the way I look at something I didn't care about in the first place. (Inevitably, “forever.”)
Wonderful stuff. The comments aren't bad either:
I heard the sound of dozens of sphincter's tightening all the way in Canada.
I know I'm extremely late to the party with this video as everyone and his uncle twice removed has already blogged about it, but some of my dear readers don't follow ye olde blogosphere as avidly as you and yours truly.
So this is for them.
This truly is a wonderful piece of video and above all a great introduction to whatever this thing called “Web 2.0” might be all about.
After all - who has time to work out when you're newly married? The year after my wife and I got married, the only activities we did in the apartment were have sex and eat. We'd go on Amazon and buy KY Jelly and a deep fryer. At one point, I think we subsisted on hot dogs for an entire month. A few months after that, we lived off Popeyes fried chicken.
On August 10, 1945, the day after the bombing of Nagasaki Yosuke Yamahata, began to photograh the devastation. The city was dead. He walked through the darkened ruins and the dead corpses for hours. By late afternoon, he had taken his final photographs near a first aid station north of the city. In a single day, he had completed the only extensive photographic record of the immediate aftermath of the atomic bombing of either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.
Please go and subscribe to Chocolate Makes It Better - tales from an Aussie dad. At times touching, at times rip roaring funny.
When talking about how weekends are for family time:
Nope. Doesn't always happen like that at our house. It's more like sweat your arse off vacuuming, trying to fit in 5 mins to take a dump in peace and kids screaming, teething and throwing hard plastic toys at their sisters.
Since I joined Google, I've been incredibly impressed by the focus on testing. You've probably heard that you can't escape even when you're in the bathroom - the test team post flyers in the stalls and in front of the urinals with useful testing hints.
We're unveiling the public release of “Testing on the Toilet”: one of Google's little secrets that has helped us to inspire our developers to write well-tested code. We write flyers about everything from dependency injection to code coverage, and then regularly plaster the bathrooms all over Google with each episode, almost 500 stalls worldwide. We've received a lot of feedback about it. Some favorable (“This is great because I'm always forgetting to bring my copy of Linux Nerd 2000 to the bathroom!”) and some not (“I'm trying to use the bathroom, can you folks please just LEAVE ME ALONE?”). Even the Washington Post noticed.
I really need to sit down and write a history of Direct3D from day one, i.e. pre-Microsoft acquisition of RenderMorphics, through to around DirectX 6.
The anti-Microsoft venom that still surrounds the whole OpenGL v Direct3D wars still hurts - we honestly we're trying to (and did do) the right thing. Even the Wikipedia article I just linked to has unpleasant bias…
I still posit that the state of consumer 3D would not be what it is today without Direct3D appearing on the scene.
And OpenGL would still be in the same stagnant state that it was in 1995.
Anyhow, this little outburst was due to a comment on a blog I happened to stumble on.
Not quite a happy ending. OpenGL was totally shot down by Microsoft, who used its monopoly in the desktop OS market to push DirectX instead, a propriety Microsoft graphics library. Had they embraced openGL, we would be seeing good games on all platforms, not just Windows.
Lots of high-profile game developers signed an open letter to Microsoft, including John Carmack (who may have even authored the letter if I memory serves), to ask Microsoft to embrace OpenGL for the good of the industry, the developers, the games, and most of all, the consumers.
Of course, Microsoft wouldn't listen, and used their power to push out OpenGL and gain market control, as per their traditional modus operandi.
Sorry to be Debbie Downer, just wanted to point out that the ending isn't so happy after all.
To which I responded:
Regarding Zach's comment - Not to totally thrash a dead horse or anything, but I was the PM and oddly enough one of the developers on Direct3D and it's predecessor, Reality Lab.
We did not set out to “kill” OpenGL. OpenGL was stagnant, did not run on commodity hardware and had laughable realtime software rendering support. I posit that if it were not for Direct3D giving the 3D graphics hardware industry a kick in the arse, we would not have the games we have today and OpenGL would still be stagnant.
At the original PDK outing of Direct3D, all the 3D hw guys really had no idea what was going on - they were all aimed at arcade and military applications. No one was focussed on the consumer.
I wish people would look at that time objectively and not with “MS hate” in their eyes. Hmm, maybe it's time I wrote it up.
btw - it was Chris Hecker that authored the letter.
10. We're moving the first people in and are completely bought out - 389 residences before the completion of construction in a market that is decidedly not booming. (Don't get me wrong, this was a good building priced well in a great location. But, our marketing was the x factor in making it work.)
Godin is, to my uneducated ears, a total purple cow, the engineer of marketing. This just proves it.
OptOutPrescreen.com is a centralized service to accept and process requests from consumers to “Opt-In” or “Opt-Out” of firm offers of credit or insurance.
OptOutPrescreen.com is a joint venture among Equifax Information Services, LLC, Experian Information Solutions, Inc., Innovis Data Solutions, Inc., and TransUnion, LLC (collectively the “Consumer Credit Reporting Companies”).
Btw, for those of you that might think that the site itself is a scam (the fact that it asks for your SSN should set your spidey-sense tingling), note that the FTC links to the site, it's SSL'd and the matter has been debated on Ars Technica and other places. Personally, I believe it's legit.
Life for Google employees at the Mountain View campus is like college. It feels like the brainiest university imaginable - one in which every kid can afford a sports car (though geeky hybrids are cooler here than hot rods).
Here the shabbily dressed engineers always will be the big men (and, yes, women) on campus. “Hard-core geeks are here because there's no place they'd rather be,” says Dennis Hwang, a Google Webmaster.
I've been playing around with DayLife today, and to be quite honest, I really like it. DayLife, for those who have somehow managed to miss all the coverage is a new aggregation site with a number of twists. There has been a bunchofcommentary since it came out, so I'll just add a few of my impressions.
I like the design, the feel of the site. I love the use of images and callouts.
But most of all I love the ability to dig deep. Interested in that story on infant car seats Well, just dig a little deeper. Try clicking on the link on the right hand side to Graco Inc. Now you can dig deeper into the people and organizations related to the company.
I love it!
As someone who wants to know as much as possible about a story that interests me, DayLife might be a keeper.
Before entering a building, troops squirt the plastic goo, which can shoot strands about 10 to 12 feet, across the room. If it falls to the ground, no trip wires. If it hangs in the air, they know they have a problem. The wires are otherwise nearly invisible.
In other cases of battlefield improvisation in Iraq, U.S. soldiers have bolted scrap metal to Humvees in what has come to be known as “Hillybilly Armor.” Medics use tampons to plug bullet holes in the wounded until they can be patched up.
Also, soldiers put condoms and rubber bands around their rifle muzzles to keep out sand. And troops have welded old bulletproof windshields to the tops of Humvees to give gunners extra protection. They have dubbed it “Pope's glass” - a reference to the barriers that protect the pontiff.
After reading reviews of One Six Right by Paul and Susan, I headed over to the movie's site and ordered the DVD on the spot. It arrived a couple of days ago and last night Julian and I sat down to watch it.
“One Six Right” is an exhilarating documentary film that celebrates the unsung hero of aviation - the local airport - by tracing the life, history, and struggles of an airport icon: Southern California's Van Nuys Airport. Featuring thrilling aerial photography and a sweeping original score, the film dispels common misconceptions and opposes criticism of General Aviation airports. Through the love story of one airport, past to present, the film shares the timeless romance of flying with all ages.
If you have a love of aviation, or love stunning film making, you have got to pick this up.
“One Six Right captures the spirit, joy and beauty of flight. One of the finest aviation films ever made.” - Harrison Ford
The movie basically follows the history of California's Van Nuys airport from it's humble beginnings through to the present day with lots of great footage and interviews with pilots old and young. A recurrent theme is the continual loss of general aviation airfields all over the country and the fact that once they're gone, they're gone forever. The movie also calls out the unforgivable rape of Chicago's Meigs Field by Mayor Richard Daley.
When you install IE7 for the first time it gives you the option to select the search provider for IE. The available search engines are listed alphabetically which means that Microsoft's own search service is listed below Google.
That is some style.
Next question: When I visit my own website from IE7 does it show the toobar thingy and say “This website wants to run the ”Windows Media 6.4 Player Shim“ from Microsoft”? That makes my site sound dodgy, and I'm pretty sure it's not…
TrailFire is a cool service I came across recently.
TrailFire enables you to annotate a series of web pages and string them together into a “trail”. A very, very sweet idea. I can think of a ton of uses for this. What might be really interesting is a mashup with del.icio.us.
I use the tag toread to highlight articles I need to come back to later. Following them with an autogenerated trail would be kinda cool.
I'm a big fan of Anthony Bourdain's travel and food show No Reservations (airing in the US on the Travel Channel). The guy is irreverent, interesting and amusing.
During last night's show, a trailer aired for an upcoming episode. Only this time it turned out a little bit different to the normal show. You see, Bourdain was in Beruit filming an episode for No Reservations when the bombs started falling. Bourdain details his experiences in an article for Salon.
The show based on the footage shot in Beruit airs on the Travel Channel at 10pm, August 21st.
I just watched the speech that Majora Carter from Sustainable South Bronx gave at this year's TED conference. She talks about “her commitment to environmental justice and her vision for a renewed South Bronx”1 and it is everything that Guy Kawasaki and Kim Pallister say it is.
Her speech is inspiring, emotional, riveting and deeply interesting. If you have even the slightest interest in urban renewal, sustainable development or just doing the right thing by communities, then this is required viewing.
Alka Seltzer (made with baking soda) doubled their sales in just one day. How? By putting two “plops” into the commercial… before that, people only took one. It put Mary Wells on the map as a marketer.
Karl Jacob, serial entrepreneur (I knew him when he was the CEO of VRML startup DimensionX which we bought during the DirectX timeframe) and current CEO of Microsoft spin-out Wallop, is reconfiguring is Dodge Viper to run on e85.
Environmentally friendly at 1000HP. Who'd a thunk it?
2. VIDEO GAMES. Due to the whole Man-Child thing as stated in #1, the Geek loves video games. And he's good at them too. My husband is the hit of all the kids' friends because not only can he talk video games, he plays them too. If my children get ”stuck“ while playing their Gameboys and bring it to me for assistance, all I can do is feebly hold it and say ”Mommy doesn't know how to play this." Daddy, however, can beat the game.
One of the few mailing lists that I subscribe to is “A Word A Day” from wordsmith.org. Every day a new word with description, history, audio pronunciation and other interesting information appears in my inbox.
The great humorist Mark Twain once said, “In Paris they simply stared when I spoke to them in French; I never did succeed in making those idiots understand their language.” Well, that's the pitfall of learning a foreign language away from its natural habitat. We might become proficient in the grammar but there is never a certainty about the nuances of the language.
No matter. Some of the terms we borrow from French have become an integral part of the English language. They often help us convey a whole idea succinctly, in just a word or two. This week let's see five such terms from French.
degringolade (day-grang-guh-LAYD) noun: A rapid decline, deterioration, or collapse (of a situation).
Most weeks, the words have a theme, making each days' gem an interesting learning exercise.
A week ago I started using Dare's aggregator, RSS Bandit, which has the nifty feature of being able to flag articles. These articles then appear in, surprisingly enough, an “Items For Followup” folder.
So, I thought it would be interesting to expose you, my cherished readers, to those articles that I deem worthy of further perusal. I plan on doing this weekly.
Note that this is not indicative of the “worthiness” those articles I've read in the 188 feeds that I've subscribed to. There are many more interesting articles of note or importance than these. But rather that these articles are ones that piqued my “that's worthwhile keeping for future reference”.
And so, I give you my list of “interesting” articles for the week ending December 2, 2005:
Joe Huffman, who I remember as nice guy and a great developer working on DirectX back in the day, runs Boomershoot on his property in rural Idaho. I remember that when Joe was working with us, he would commute weekly between Redmond and Idaho.
Anyhow, I'd recently found Joe's blog and saw that King 5's Evening Magazine had covered the event. You can find the video via the link in Joe's latest blog entry.
I love this new service, Save My Ass (of course, it should be arse - I don't have a donkey that needs saving...), because I had exactly the same idea back in 1997 shortly before relocating to the USA. Of course, I didn't do anything with the idea then...
If you're a successful professional whose career demands the bulk of your time, you know the problem. You want her to be happy, but you're busy and it's hard to be on top of flowers when you have deals closing or decks to finish. Sign up for this service once, and we'll take care of the rest. She'll be happy, you'll be happy.
It was a good idea then, and it's still a good idea. They should do more than just flowers though. By varying the type of gift, it doesn't look too suspicious.
I love the idea of a panic button, with a slider to indicate how bad you've screwed up. A cool, fun feature that means you don't mind paying a premium.
So, London has won the bid to host the Olympics in 2012. I predict utter mayhem ;-)
I'd love to have seen Jacques Chirac's face when that was announced. Now he'll have to eat some food cooked in England. Mind you, with London now having more total Michelin stars than Paris, he'll probably enjoy it.
Another of my favourite PodCasts is Steve Lacey's A Brit Abroad, again, it's strange to hear a English accent in a PodCast, but this time you're prepared, as the title suggest you're going to get a British accent. I wonder, do American women swoon at his feet when ever he talks?
Hehe. Check out the "advert" on Gizmodo. Click on the picture for the full goodness. I must say, they've got me thinking about picking up a Mac Mini. The thing is small and relatively (well, for Apple) cheap.
A bloke provides stock price futures by, well, using his nuts. The results are absolutely histerical and even got a giggle out of Nabila. The deadpan delivery is spot on. You have to check this out - probably not work-safe.
Google News is a great site, offering an extremely useful search function that finds news stories published on the Internet within the past 30 days. The other delightful thing about it is its automatically generated homepage headlines. If you want to know what the top stories are, you're better off going to a news site that has an actual human editor (at this point we'd be remiss if we didn't plug The Wall Street Journal Online), but some of the stuff that makes its way through Google's algorithms can be a source of high hilarity.
Example: A left-wing site called Axis of Logic published a satirical (though unfunny) article yesterday titled "Canadians Authorities Arrest U.S. President Bush on War Charges," and it ended up as Google's top story. Seriously. If you don't believe us, click here.
Sometimes browsing through the stats and information about how people find my website can be downright amusing. Someone recently came to my site after searching for "how to hum when recording podcasts" on google...
While sitting at your desk, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise circles. Now, while doing this, draw the number "6" in the air with your right hand. Your foot will change direction and there's nothing you can do about it.
Just trying this new aggregator out. It appears to be very cool - a C# app and has that Outlook look'n'feel. It also includes what appears to be a great (well, we'll soon find out just how great) weblog publishing tool. I pointed it at my MoveableType installation and it found my various blogs, recognized the available categories, etc...
This post is being created with it, so we'll see just how great it is.
I currently use SharpReader and Bloglines. SharpReader is looking a tad too basic these days, so if it proves stable I think Sauce Reader will be replacing it for my offline RSS reading.
Sauce Reader is in beta right now, but appears to be very solid. Go download it over at Synop's site.
Update: So the post made it out fine, but its formatting isn't xhtml compliant as it uses uppercase for tag names. Also, it includes <p> tags, which doesn't work nice with MT's convert line break option. I guess I could turn that off though.
All in all, the aggregator looks good, and I'll be using it.
Read the story before viewing the video (you may need audio).
This is a car advert from somewhere. When they finished filming the ad the people who made it noticed something moving along the side of the car, like a ghostly white mist. The ad was never put on TV because the unexplained ghostly phenomenon frightened the production team out of their wits.
Look closely as the car turns the corner and clears the trees you will see the white mist crossing in front of the car then following it along the road...
What a great article! This is a great take on the current state of the games industry and the games that we produce. The article kinda hits both sides of the FPS fence and tackles the "My son killed his friend ’cos he played your game" issue. I like the question he posits:
And, in a separate case that also occurred only a few days ago, a mother recently killed her 15-year-old daughter because she claimed God told her to. Why isn't religion taking any flak for this, when this crime may have been averted had the woman never heard of God? Because religion isn't at fault - and neither are games.
Here's a good one over at JuliusBlog which claims that the timing of the terror alerts shows striking correlation to dips in Bush's popularity ratings. Although it does seem a tad farfetched, I guess I wouldn't put it past the old boy. Especially with the last one appearing just after the DNC conference and based on old, pre-9/11 data that has "suddenly come to light". Ahem.
Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with books on algebra etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the creative bug is just a wee voice telling you, "I'd like my crayons back, please."
This really hits a home run. Everyone has the skill and desire to be creative, and a lot of people are; be it through music, coding, writing. People should spend more time making stuff.