Archive for February, 2009

Giving Up On A Goal For 2009

17:50 27 Feb 2009

Back at the start of the this year, I set out a bunch of goals for myself for 2009. One of them was this:

Write a summary/review/synopsis of every book I read. This will be a lot harder, I think. Definitely a trickier one, and a hard discipline to maintain, but we’ll see how it goes.


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AI and Games

18:14 26 Feb 2009

I recently came across this article about an AI program winning two Traveller competitions in the early 80s. (This was naval space combat simulation with Traveller rules, “Trillion Credit Squadron”, not roleplaying.)

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Rolling Poorly on the Random Bad Driving Encounter Table

23:08 24 Feb 2009. Updated: 21:12 18 Mar 2009

This isn’t about something that happened to me, just something I happened to witness. It centered on a BMW driver, but contrary to stereotype, he wasn’t at fault in any of it. It wasn’t too serious, either, but struck me as quite ridiculous.

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New Blog Functionality: Recent Commentary

21:39 23 Feb 2009

I’ve had a Recent Comments section on the front-page sidebar of the site for quite some time, and decided it was time for an upgrade. The old version was straightforward: it displayed a list of the most recent comments and who made them. What I decided I wanted was, rather, a list of the posts with the most recent comments on them, how many comments there were, and a list of the people who made the comments in timestamp order.

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Old-School Platformer: Jumpman

22:49 22 Feb 2009

I saw a reference to Jumpman on BoingBoing, and have been quite impressed by it. Apart from also being a platform game, it bears no relation to Jumpman or to the Donkey Kong character Mario. Definitely worth a download (it’s free, and runs under Windows, OS X, or Wine). Oh, and I liked its promo video, too:

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Writing, Fun, and Compulsion

23:59 20 Feb 2009. Updated: 03:47 21 Feb 2009

This evening I was asked a few times about whether or not writing was fun, and why I write. I’m not completely sure about the answers.

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Watchmen Isn’t Out Yet But…

23:54 19 Feb 2009

I am going to go see it. I’m kind of annoyed by this, right now. Because I feel like I have to go see it. They’ve made the trailers look appealing enough that I have to go see it just in case it’s actually good, even though I’m still extremely skeptical.

Wil Wheaton likes it. I don’t know if that means anything to you. I don’t know if that means anything to me, actually. But he does swear by the beard of Zeus that the movie feels like the book. On the other hand, he does wonder why ultra-purists (hi!) would bother to see it at all.

I don’t know. There are already some things I don’t like from the trailers (like Rorschach’s voice and some of the costume changes), but in order to find out whether or not they’re minor details or signs that Snyder’s vision of it is too alien to me, I have to go see it.

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Who Really Takes Fukuyama Seriously?

18:46 17 Feb 2009

I just watched this Slavoj Žižek lecture, which he gave at Google NYC and which I recommend, and was somewhat shocked at an answer he gave to the question (at about 1:03:10 in) “how do you respond to claims that Marxism and radicalism are dead?”—he answered, “the only serious question we have is this one, is Fukuyama, Francis, right or not?”

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pafib #5

18:43 16 Feb 2009
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Another Text Editor?

15:56 15 Feb 2009

Mozilla Labs recently introduced Bespin, a browser-based fully-featured text editor. I have mixed feelings about this, because I wonder if the time would be better spent working on other things (or improving other editors), but on the other hand I like the idea of a text editor written using languages that web developers can tweak, and being in the browser offers a tremendously rich framework for layout and presentation. I also wonder if it might lead to the kind of semantic “word processing” tool I’ve previously mentioned looking for.

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My WordPress Development Setup

16:29 13 Feb 2009

One of the first things I did with my resuscitated blog was to figure out how I could develop for it in a reasonable fashion.

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Twitter Experimentation

18:00 12 Feb 2009

After refusing for quite some time, I’ve decided to give Twitter a try. This might prove short-lived, but we’ll see. I like the concept of easy status updates and of disconnecting them from a larger, clunkier framework, e.g. Facebook.

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Related Posts Plugin and SQL Trickery

11:55 10 Feb 2009
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The Afternoon Nap

10:14 09 Feb 2009. Updated: 21:35 09 Feb 2009

There are plenty of reports that the afternoon nap is good for you, and that it increases alertness and clarity of thought.

I’m not a great sleeper generally, and I’ve wondered whether or not sleeping in the afternoon would help. Now that my schedule is more flexible, I’m going to try a 45-minute nap at 15:00 most days and see whether or not that makes any difference. Anyone out there tried similar experiments?

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Comparative Costs of US City Living

22:52 08 Feb 2009

Even though I don’t live in Manhattan, I’m still disturbed by this graph:

I love San Francisco and have no desire to leave; moreover, if I did leave, New York City would be one of the places I’d consider going to! I’ve been a city person my entire life, and somehow even the difference betwewen Berkeley and San Francisco is something I feel on an emotional level. Worse, I’m picky about cities, and moving to Houston isn’t looking too likely right now.

I’d love to see Dublin (probably quite high) and Berlin (possibly a lot lower) on this graph, but I’m not sure where I could find that data.

The graph is from page 12 of “Reviving the City of Aspiration”, a report by Center for an Urban Future, and I found it via this post on the Queens Crap blog.

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Leaving Metaweb

23:58 06 Feb 2009. Updated: 05:44 07 Feb 2009

Today was my last day at Metaweb, and I was sad to leave. Naturally I’ll miss the people most, but hopefully I’ll manage to see most of them relatively often.

I’m not exactly sure what’s next, but I’m feeling good about it at the moment, and looking forward to finding out what it is.

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Renouncing the Sin of Onan by T-shirt

23:04 05 Feb 2009

This is another one of those occasions where I can’t believe it’s not parody. But, no.
Ex-Masturbator T-shirt

There really is a “Passion for Christ Movement” (not so surprising), and they really do have these T-shirts, with the following launch headline:

It’s funny, of course, but underneath it all there’s a real and disgusting message, a message that aims to make sexuality shameful, and to control people via that shame and repression. Still, at least in this instance the believers look like complete idiots.

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Musical Graphs

23:58 03 Feb 2009

I know that the Songsmith thing has been extensively covered, but this one is different, and interesting, and depressingly informative:

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Federer Loses 2009 Australian Open Final

23:58 02 Feb 2009

I watched the final on Saturday night/Sunday morning, and it was quite a painful experience.

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New Blog Functionality: Related Posts

23:37 01 Feb 2009. Updated: 16:31 10 Feb 2009

Having revived my proper blog and transferred my content over, I’ve now started adding improvements, some of which I’ve been wanting to add for quite some time. The first one is a list of related posts on the individual post pages.

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