Archive for the ‘General’ Category

The Rebirth of Crueltown

August 1, 2011 in General,IPad Life | Comments (0)

It’s been over a year since I posted anything on this so-called blog, but when I looked back at the old articles they didn’t seem so bad. Sure, my categories are a good indicator of how old and out of date the thing has gotten, but that doesn’t mean I can’t breath a gust of life back into it. Better to have something worth ignoring than nothing at all. So this post essentially just documents my new dedication to post something here off and on so that it doesn’t just dry up.

So looking back at my last post about the iPad, it’s pretty interesting in retrospective. Since I wrote that, the iPad has completely changed the landscape for portable computing. People can jump up and down about whether iOS or Adroid is better if they want, but so far the iPad has the table market ruled. I’ve seen a couple of interesting new offerings (Toshiba’s Thrive tablet looks especially interesting to me at the moment) but it’s another case where Apple has created the market and now everyone else is jumping in to play. Say what you will about the company and its practices, but I don’t see anyone else inventing the technology space the way that they do. Would you rather have a product that is “better than” someone else’s, or would you rather your product be the one that everyone else is comparing theirs to? Apple keeps setting itself as the standard against which others should be measured.

WordPress Theme Generator

April 11, 2009 in General | Comments (0)

WordPress Theme Generator: I don’t blog so much, and I certainly don’t spend any time trying to make my site look good. As a hopeful attempt to get myself to do something about it, I’m linking this WordPress Theme generator, which will purportedly let me interactively create a good looking theme and then dump it into my site. We’ll see. At least this way, the next time I come look at my ugly, uninteresting site, I’ll be reminded that there are tools that can help me address it.

Mixed Feelings about Spore

September 10, 2008 in General,Mac | Comments (0)

I’ve been playing Spore a bit. I’ll admit, it’s quite engaging. However, I’m disappointed by a couple of things:

First off, it won’t run on my MacBook. They were kind enough to include a Mac installer, but Spore doesn’t like the graphics hardware in my year-old notebook. If I’d been toting the thing around for four or five years I might be able to understand, but it’s really disappointing that they didn’t provide support for this very popular platform. Hopefully they’ll fix that in the not too distant future.

Second, it tends to hang – at least on my Windows hardware. The first few times I played I never got around to saving my game (it doesn’t take all that long to get through the microbe phase) and, before I got too far into the creature phase the game has locked up on me (in Windows XP and Vista both), requiring a hard restart of the machine.

It’s early in the game, so I’ll cross my fingers and hope for some updates. In the meantime, even with those annoyances, I will have to guard my time preciously so that Spore does not continue to steal hours from things I really ought to be working on.


July 11, 2008 in General | Comments (0)

So far, I’ve been a pretty poor blogger. I spend too much time worrying about what others will think about what I write, or that I don’t have enough to say. But as I read my daily pound of feeds, I notice that there are plenty of bloggers who are clearly unconcerned with what other people think (given the outrageousness of what they say), and others who are clearly unconcerned with the length of their missives.

One of my favorites in the second category is Seth Godin’s blog. You may recognize him as the author of The Dip. Seth doesn’t always blog a lot of text, but he always blogs.

So today I vote for brevity and just come here to say something. To say something brief, but to say it out loud.

Do you ever stop yourself from speaking because you think you don’t have enough to say?

Processing 1.0 (BETA)

April 25, 2007 in General | Comments (0)


Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and sound. It is used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is developed by artists and designers as an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.

Stumbled across this, looks kind of interesting. Be sure to follow the Mobzombies link and watch the video of people running around in a crowd, staring at a handheld computer. I like the notion of location-based games. While this one isn’t really location-based (you could easily run into a wall since the game knows nothing about the spacial environment it’s in) you could certainly couple this tech with real world geometry.

Source: Processing 1.0 (BETA)

Mayonnaise and Beer

April 22, 2007 in General | Comments (0)

Read this if you could use a little perspective, or if you could just use a beer.

Hold the mayo.

Link to A.I. Answering Service & Call Center – Mayo and Beer

Flash Element TD | Novel Concepts

in General,Links | Comments (0)

My current favorite online time waster, this game is one where you drop towers to defend yourself from various “creeps” who traverse the map and try to get out through your back door. Sort of odd that the minute they get out they come right back in, but it’s still strangely engaging game play. Always fascinates me how something this simple can keep you enthralled for so long. If you’ve got lots to do, don’t follow this link.

Link to Flash Element TD | Novel Concepts

» Second Life to open-source grid; will Google bite? | The Social Web |

April 20, 2007 in General | Comments (0)

So every day it seems it gets easier to create compelling content for the web, the PC, the handheld device – the trick is coming up with something that is actually compelling. By open-sourcing Second Life, does a true multiverse now become possible? I’m always intrigued by this kind of news, then disappointed because I’m pretty sure I won’t be the one making anything exciting happen with the technology, but I’m definitely an interested observer.

I wonder if my host would let me run a grid under my shared account? 

Link to » Second Life to open-source grid; will Google bite? | The Social Web |

Ten Year Journal PDF File

November 20, 2006 in General | Comments (4)

Most journals fall into disuse because because it’s hard to make the time to write in them, and they usually fill up with depressing nonsense. Who has time to write in a journal when life is good?

I’ve been writing in a ten year journal for the past, well, ten years. I’ve almost completely filled one. A ten year journal gives you one page for each day of a year, with ten stavesrepresenting each of ten years. Every day you write about what happened in your life, but not much because there really isn’t much space. All you can really fit is a weather report about what happened, so you don’t get to wax philosophical or complain, etc. Short and sweet and off to the next day.

The very cool thing happens as you start on the later staves. Each time you write, you can look backward a year, two years, etc. You get a cross section of your life over the past decade. It also becomes a great “tie-breaker” when family and friends come to visit and you start arguing about who visited who when, what year you went on that trip, and things like that. Most of all, it’s just a very interesting chronological record of your life and times.

You can buy ten year journals, but I decided to make may own. I wrote a macro in Microsoft Word that spit out the file, then I printed it on regular bond paper. For the past ten years I’ve been suffering with a couple of crucial design mistakes that I have finally gotten to fix. I didn’t have any place for you to jot birthdays and anniversaries on the pages, there was no place to put a “headline” for a particular stave. The worst one was that, while each stave had the year on it, it didn’t have the day of the week, so I wound up writing them in by hand – often incorrectly.

All of these issues have been corrected in the new file. I wrote a Ruby script to dump out an XML file containing all of the date information, then used an XSL-FO stylesheet I built with Stylevision to transform the XML document into a fully formatted Ten Year Journal in PDF file format.

I suggest printing it with a duplex printer that can hit both sides, otherwise you have the tedious task of flipping each page by hand as it prints – but you won’t have to do it again for ten years. Use a high quality printer setting (600dpi or more) or the gray lines may not render correctly. You can safely ignore the last page. It’s blank. I couldn’t be bothered to try to keep that from rendering – it was hard enough getting the thing formatted at it is. February 29th is an oddity as well. There are still 10 staves, but only 3 have the day of the week for the leap year. The other staves are sort of freebies you can scribble extra stuff in if you want. I considered making the “non-days” not print, but in my current ten year journal it was always kind of fun to have those extra lines to write in.

Printing Tips 

If you’re going to put it in a three ring binder, I would suggest buying some prepunched paper. Myself, I have the Circa paper punch system (Levenger’s branding of the Rollabind product line). Circa notebooks lie flat like a spiral, taking up a lot less space than a three ring binder, but you can still take the pages out and add pages in if you want to. This is handy when you travel because you leave the notebook itself behind and just take the pages for the days of your trip. You can also punch and clip in ticket stubs, pictures, hotel receipts, and other mementos. You’ll need one inch rings to hold a complete ten year journal.

Click here to view the file
It’s free, so hopefully you’ll like it. Save a copy so you can print it later on. I would gladly accept feedback, but it’s not likely that I’ll change it again for the next ten years. Bookmark this page and come back in 2017 to get the new version.

National Novel Writing Month

November 1, 2006 in General | Comments (0)

If you hurry you can still sign up to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Over the 30 days of November you churn out a 50,000 word novel (roughly 175 pages) with the help and support of all the other maniacs who are trying to achieve the same goal. There are forums and local meetups and all sorts of shenanigans to either keep you on track or give you some fun things to procrastinate with.

I was tempted, but I found out about it just a bit too late. I’m not willing to dive in at this point, but don’t let that stop you. I did a little experiment with Microsoft Word… if you start a document and adjust the font to Courier New, set the line spacing to double, and add a half inch indent to the paragraphs, you’d need to write about two and a half pages a day to make the goal. Doesn’t seem like that much, at least if you have an idea for what you want to write. Word also had a word counting feature, and a toolbar item you can turn on to easily check your word count at any time. I hear this is how Stephen King got started, so it’s probably worth doing