Archive for November, 2005

an easy target

November 30th, 2005

I like Christmas shopping at Target. You know why? No Christmas music. In fact, no music at all. The absence of music and voiceovers blaring belies a certain respect for their customers that most other retailers don’t have. It’s really nice that you don’t have to suffer through listening to Diana Ross warble through “Holly Jolly Christmas” or hear Mark Knopfler wheeze through some sappy ten-year-old Dire Straits song while you frown and try to shop. Also, no annoying voiceovers like “WELCOME TARGET SHOPPERS DO YOU NEED TO FIND THAT SPECIAL GIFT FOR THAT SPECIAL SOMEONE WELL WHY NOT TRY A TARGET GASOLINE RATION CARD”… I’m looking at you, “Stop & Shop”.


roger ebert wrote soft porn

November 30th, 2005

Really great, brutally honest article on Roger Ebert here. I’ve always enjoyed his work; it’s nice to find out more about the man and his surprisingly interesting life.


weird stuff in core services

November 29th, 2005

By running this AppleScript, you’ll get a window that shows all the weird icons floating around in Mac OS X’s “Core Services”:.

Bb the way, the code used above to embed AppleScript examples in A HREF tags can be found here.


in case you are stumped while choosing a christmas present for me

November 28th, 2005


That’s right, I want you to buy me a USB fondue pot. So? You’ve bought stupider things. Link.


now more than ever

November 28th, 2005

kneel before zod

Kneel before General Zod for President in 2008…. honestly, how can it be worse.


know your ports

November 28th, 2005

There certainly are a lot of ports and connections on computers. Here’s a useful nerd porn guide to skim though to get them all straight. (Not pictured: SCSI, thank God).


daappelganger 1.0.2 release

November 25th, 2005

Download here.

1.0.1 + 1.0.2 release:

  • added a “Add to Music Share” button to add additional music files not in ~/Music/iTunes to Daappelganger share
  • changed the previously installed “LaunchDeamon” to a “LaunchAgent” so Daappelganger will not run as root
  • tidied up the configuration app user interface quite a bit
  • made the icon shinier
  • removed all of the umlauts


Could we band together to stuff the ballot box on this one? See, here’s the thing: when I originally released this software, I f*cked up and compiled the configuration app with development settings, not deployment settings, long story short: it didn’t work. I quickly fixed the problem, but not before a bunch of people gave the software a bad review. Even if you have no interest in testing or using this app, if you could take one minute out of your day and visit here and here and give ol’ Daappelganger a good review, I would surely appreciate it. Thanks.


shock: social science fiction

November 24th, 2005

I’m a pretty serious geek. I build electronics (details about the electification of the Whackinstick are coming soon). I head straight for the Preferences menu item as soon as I get a new piece of software and immediately begin a critique of its user interface. I’ve been known to play video games until my eyes have dried up, falled out, a technology for eyeball-replacement has been invented, and my eyeballs have been replaced.

So it should come as no surprise to readers of that I love me some role-playing games.

I’m fussy, though. I can’t stand video games that have time limits, I can’t stand nonstandard electronic components (that is, most of them), and bad software design burns me up. Likewise, I can’t stand bullshit role-playing games.

So, like so many before me, I decided to fix the problem. With the assistance of the extraordinary creative community of The Forge, I released Under the Bed at GenCon Indy, last August. It’s a weird little game for weird roleplayers. It’s been selling much better than anticipated, but it’s a game about child endangerment that uses handfuls of 8-sided dice. Not a mainstream product, even in the fringe world of RPGs.

I’ve got another project that I’m working on, too. Shock: Social Science Fiction is a game about building a world and fiction therein to talk about societal-level issues. It has none of the crap I hate about so many RPGs, and is built around composing worlds and characters as metaphor, just like science fiction has always done.

It will be released in full form in March, but you can download playtest version 0.1.0 and play it with your friends. It’s substantially different from a lot of mainstream games like a lot of stuff gestated on The Forge, so there’s a lot of playtesting to be done.

I’ll announce 0.2.0 when it’s ready, probably in a few weeks.

four turkeys

November 23rd, 2005

…hopefully the creation of the new and imminently-beloved Thanksgiving character “Hitler Turkey” will make tomorrow’s dinner go down just that much easier.

Happy Thanksgiving!


hollywood makes deal with bittorrent

November 23rd, 2005


In a deal aimed at reducing illegal internet traffic in pirated films, Hollywood reached an agreement Tuesday with the creator of the popular file-sharing software BitTorrent.

The agreement requires 30-year-old software designer Bram Cohen to prevent his BitTorrent website from locating pirated versions of popular movies, effectively frustrating people who search for illegal copies of films.

BitTorrent must remove web links leading to illegal content owned by the seven studios that are members of the Motion Picture Association of America.

…this is nothing but PR fodder, as you can’t actually make a deal with a networking protocol. This is so Joe StripeTie will skim this article and say at the watercooler on Monday that “I heard Hollywood made a deal with BitTorrent and now you can’t download movies.” Nonetheless, I still look forward to Hollywood’s upcoming deals with FTP and IRC.


* P.S. Wired — both the magazine and the website — **sucks**. It’s gone steadily downhill for so long that I can’t remember when or if it was ever good. This month’s issue is such a repulsive exaltation of capitalistic gizmol├╝sten that I could barely stomach reading it. I mean, I love gadgets too, but honestly, there’s a limit.

not a good sign

November 22nd, 2005


coconut battery

November 22nd, 2005

CoconutBattery is a wonderful utility that shows you the *current* (hyuk hyuk) state of your Mac laptop battery. As you can see here:

…CoconutBattery is telling me it’s time for me to *shell* (hyuk hyuk hyuk) out for a new battery, because I’m only getting about 42% of the original potential of my (hideously expensive) PowerBook battery.


distributing the future

November 22nd, 2005

I’ve been doing a bunch of consulting lately and that means a lot of long, boring New England interstate highway car travel. As a result, I’ve really been enjoying listening to O’Reilly’s “Distributing the Future” podcast documenting the Web 2.0 conference. Anyone involved in anything even the slightest bit webby should check it out.

Insights and highlights gleaned from the talks:

  • Sun Microsystems COO Jonathan Schwartz is probably a dick. He totally talks over the poor woman from the Mozilla Foundation. SUN + 5 years = SGI.
  • Sergey Brin of Google busts out with a genuinely funny allegory.
  • The startup business advice given by Jason Fried of “37 Signals” sounds right on.
  • AOL is dead in the water; if they think consumers will pay $40 for broadband and then $25 on top of that for AOL’s version of “security”, they’re nuts. AOL + 5 years = Prodigy.
  • Barry Diller honestly believes “Ask Jeeves” can compete on a technological level with Google — when was the last time anyone even mentioned “Ask Jeeves”, other than a punchline on “Arrested Development”?
  • Bran Ferren makes some awesome points about human/computer interface.
  • The interviews with the kids are just wonderful.


scientology south park

November 22nd, 2005

Once a year, Comedy Central airs a South Park episode that, all by itself, justifies the existence of South Park for yet another year.

This… is that episode. It’s well worth watching, if only for the animation that explains Xenu.


embarrassing open source behavior

November 21st, 2005

*artist’s rendition*

…he doesn’t *actually* wear a tin-foil hat, but he might as well. The reaction from a lot of people online seems to be “LOL good for him!”, but I think making a point this way is just stupid. I hate to seem shallow (however shallow I may be) but looking like a Unibomber and waving tin-foil around doesn’t do a lot for the credibility of the open-source movement.