Archive for December, 2005

katamari damacy t-shirts

December 22nd, 2005


Panic sells some cool Mac software and some cool Mac shirts. And now they sell officially licensed and produced Katamari Damacy t-shirts too! Each Katamari Damacy shirt has comments by the designers, Takahashi and Kimura. I also have to point out that their web interface to Panic’s online store is just beyond sweet; I love the drag n’ drop shopping cart, and the smooth javascript fade from one product shot to the other is totally gorgeous.

~jeff

sketchfighter

December 21st, 2005


This looks just like the video game you “designed” during homeroom in 5th grade; you know the one, that used the special awesome controller with the seven buttons and which featured the ship with the kickass laser that shot like five different directions? Yeah, that one, but the difference here is that these screenshots are of an actual game; this upcoming game from Ambrosia has a killer hand-drawn look, and with both cooperative and competitive multiplayer game modes built-in, I can’t wait to try this.

~jeff

video games on the cheap

December 21st, 2005


I can’t confirm this but: rumor has it that tomorrow (December 22nd) Toys R’ Us will be having a huge video game sale: lots of current video games will be on sale for $10. If you’re still Holiday Time Gift Shopping — or if, like me, you are a cheap bastard and are gluttonous for toys — it might be worth a visit.

~jeff

P.S. I am the one true Super Monkey Boxing Champion of the world

singles breaking up

December 21st, 2005


During a long car ride yesterday, I attempted to listen to all 50 of Pitchforkmedia.com’s 50 Best Singles of 2005, with disastrous results. I think I must simply hate music:

  • “My Doorbell” by The White Stripes: This song is fine. It’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with it. It’s just fine.
  • ” Take Ecstasy With Me”, by !!!: The appeal of this band escapes me, as does the appeal of this song. What I do know is that their band name pops up on top of every other band in iTunes, which annoys the living sh*t out of me.
  • “I Turn My Camera On” by Spoon: That falsetto is great, and thanks to it, I can recognize this Spoon song, which is more than I can say for any other Spoon song I might have ever heard.
  • “Inside and Out” by Feist: Kind of reminds me of acid-jazz or trip-hop (remember them?), which in turn reminds me of Sade, which in turn reminds me to get my hair cut because they play Sade in the place I get my hair cut. But I completely lose interest and fast-forward after like ten seconds. And my hair remains delightfully shaggy.
  • “I Look Into Mid Air” by Rex The Dog:Cool cut-up vocal effect, but there’s not much else there to like.
  • “Ageless Beauty” by Stars: Hey, this is a good song! It’s about getting old and pining for youth, which given the rest of this list, I can totally relate to.
  • “Off the Record” by My Morning Jacket: This song has a reggae beat. Supposedly. Sort of. Not really. It’s not that great.
  • “The Difference It Makes (Superpitcher Remix)” by The MFA: I enjoy that Pitchfork is so up-their-own-asses that they specify not only incredibly-little-known songs but then go on to specify little-known-remixes of those songs. Well played.
  • “Felt Tip” by Love Is All: I have absolutely no recollection of this song, but I bet it was kind of 80’s sounding. They all are these days.
  • “It’s Nothing”, by Cam’ron feat. Juelz Santana: I think this rap song is about preparing cocaine.
  • “Love is a Number” by White Rose Movement: Again, synths, 80’s, something something, dumb song. While I’m on the subject, when was the last time you heard a guitar solo? Seriously, none of these songs have guitar solos. I’m not complaining. When I was in high school, all the other kids played guitar and I played piano. They could all solo and go wheedley-deedly-doo on their whammy bars. I felt like a nerd about it (I still do!) but: who’s laughing now. Who’s… laughing… now.
  • “What Else is There (Trentemoller Remix)” by Royksopp: I think I bought a Royksopp at Ikea last week.
  • “Daft Punk Is Playing at My House” by LCD Soundsystem: Whenever I think of Daft Punk and Pitchfork, I think of this review, which is the greatest record review ever written. Also when I think of Daft Punk I think about when Josh, Carrie and I almost died of smoke inhalation in this weird house in CT from drunkenly building a fire without opening the flue, but that is a story for another time.
  • “Oh”, by Ciara: Pitchfork really likes girl singers; I think that is mainly because for many record reviewers, interviewing a girl is as close as they ever get to touching them.
  • “Gnarls Barkley”, Gnarls Barkley: Terrible name — good song. I had trouble getting over the aforementioned terrible name.
  • “Hollaback Girl”, Gwen Stefani: This song is playing on an endless loop in hell. Awful. Just awful.
  • “Schrapnell” by Isolée: Hey, Remember the 80’s?
  • “Do You Want To” by Franz Ferdinand: The lead singer of this band looks uncomfortably like Dave Foley from Kids in the Hall, and I just can’t entirely get over that.
  • “Grass”, Animal Collective: This song is the pits. This band is the pits. I don’t understand why everyone falls over themselves praising this band. That goes double for Devendra Barnhart.
  • “Just A Touch (Remix) f/ Paul Wall” by 50 Cent: I believe this rap song is also about preparing cocaine.
  • “Destroy Everything You Touch”, by Ladytron: Suckstron
  • “Sex In The Kitchen”, by R .Kelly: Please
  • “Hung Up”, by Madonna: No one listens to Madonna for the actual music anymore; at this point, people just listen for the high-tech production. It’s like how people really only buy Doom or Quake to test their graphic cards.
  • “Gold Digger”, Kanye West ft Jamie Foxx: Yeah, I guess? I’m getting tired of writing this, and I’m crabby; maybe it’s time for a nap.
  • “Rebellion (Lies)”, The Arcade Fire: I love the key change in the middle. The rest of it is only OK.
  • “Lose Control”, by Missy Elliott: Kind of flat. You can do better for Missy Elliot songs. I once dated a girl named Missy Elliot, and she also had a giant green inflatable suit. But the similarities ended there.
  • “Be Mine”, by Robyn: This song could contain secret directions to pirate gold during the chorus, and I would have no idea because I fast-forwarded no more than ten seconds in.
  • “Apply Some Pressure” by Maximo Park: HEY! This song is great! It’s the only one I’ve liked. See for yourself. It’s wonderfully written, wonderfully recorded, fun to listen to. Well done!
  • “Mic Check 1, 2”, by Juelz Santana: This rap song is about preparing cocaine.
  • “Mr. Brightside”, The Killers: We’ve been dancing, with Mr. Brightside, he won’t leave us alone! Decent song.
  • “Tribulations” by LCD Soundsystem: Seriously, f*ck this band.
  • “Eghck”, by Clipse: It’s good to name your songs while you’re having a stroke. Terrible song.
  • “Good Weekend”, by Art Brut: Yeah, so?
  • “Emily Kane”, by Art Brut: Seriously, so what. You’ve got a British accent. Big deal.
  • “Don’t Save Us From The Flames (Superpitcher Remix)”, by M83: I miss Pink Floyd. They used to be good. This isn’t.
  • “Go Crazy (Remix)”, by Young Jeezy ft Jay-Z & Fat Joe: Preparing…
  • “I Gotta Stay Fly” by Three 6 Mafia: …cocaine.
  • “Heard ‘Em Say”, by Kanye West: Just the fact that Kanye West can make me enjoy listening to a song featuring the dude from Maroon 5 singing like Stevie Wonder, well, that’s some impressive stuff. I don’t hate this song; it’s got fantastic production by Jon Brion.
  • “Trapped In The Closet (Chapter 1)”, by R. Kelly: Please. Please. When my friends told me about this song earlier this year, I thought they were kidding.
  • “Random” by Lady Sovereign: Every year some rapping British chick shows up for like a month, people fall all over her, and they she goes away. But this song isn’t bad, and the “ding-dong… hello?” part gets me every time.
  • “Welcome to Jamrock”, by Damien Marley: Highly competent dub, but I bet this song made the list solely to show that Pitchfork’s writers occasionally listen to reggae.
  • “Hate It Or Love It ft. 50 Cent”, by The Game: Did somebody say preparing cocaine?
  • “Hounds Of Love”, by The Futureheads: A Kate Bush cover, I think. I could Google it but I don’t care enough to.
  • “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson: I admit to really liking this song — right up to the chorus, and then I hate it with the passion of ten-thousand burning suns. That took a lot for me to admit. The Ted Led version is better, and he ditches the chorus entirely.
  • “Zen”, by Clipse Feat. Ab-Liva & Sandman: something something cocaine
  • “One Thing” by Amerie: Cool beat, but it gets old fast.
  • “Hope There’s Someone”, by Antony And The Johnsons: This guy’s hair makes me want to shoot myself in the face. I know that’s shallow, but so is this song, and I despised it.

So there we have it; proof positive that I hate everything.

~jeff

the infinite jest of cute overload

December 21st, 2005


Did you ever read “Infinite Jest” by David Foster Wallace? It’s a really big book, like thousands of pages long. I read it of my own volition during college, when I was adequately sullen and lonely enough to have the time required to read such a tome.

Anyway: in that book, there’s this bootleg video that is so very entertaining that people watching it will forego food, water and sleep in order to keep watching it. When viewers reach the end of the tape, they simply rewind it and watch it again. They repeat this process until they pass away from lack of proper diet and hydration.

My point is that I suspect that the site Cute Overload will have that effect on many of the women I know. I think they will just click and click and giggle and click and smile and click until they eventually fall down dead. Don’t say you weren’t warned, ladies!

~jeff

my indie-cred hits an all time low

December 20th, 2005


Every year, indie-cred barometer site Pitchforkmedia.com publishes their “best albums of 2005” list, and I secretly scan the list to determine how many of their “best albums of 2005” (read: indie-credible! albums of 2005) I own or am at least familiar with. This year, things look awfully grim, as I own only two of the 50 albums and I’ve only heard eight more of them:

I own:

  • 50: Orthrelm “OV” (and hated it)
  • 36: Keith Fullerton Whitman “Multiples”

I’ve heard:

  • 46: Fiona Apple “Extraordinary Machine [Jon Brion Version]”
  • 45: M83 “Before the Dawn Heals Us”
  • 31: Konono No. 1 “Congotronics”
  • 30: Franz Ferdinand “You Could Have It So Much Better”
  • 26: The Decemberists “Picaresque”
  • 21: Bonnie “Prince” Billy & Matt Sweeney “Superwolf”
  • 07: Animal Collective “Feels” (and hated it)
  • 02: Kanye West “Late Registration”

…that’s only 20% familiarity, and of that twenty percent, I only genuinely liked eight out of those ten, dropping my already weak score to a mere 16%. OUCH. In my meager defense, I do not own any albums by any of the people featured on American Idol. Yet.

~jeff

best mail.app tip ever

December 19th, 2005


On the subject of Mail.app (the One True Email Client!), via Tim Gaden’s excellent site “Hawk Wings” all about Mail.app:

  1. Quit Mail.
  2. Open the Terminal and type in the following:
  3. defaults write com.apple.mail MinimumHTMLFontSize 12

  4. Restart Mail.app and your HTML messages in tiny point sizes are now easily readable (i.e. f*ck off, Outlook Express!)

Of course you can set the point size to whatever you like; I chose 12 so it matches up with my plain text messages which render in Helvetica 12 (the One True Font! and One True Point Size!)

~jeff

will forte is the future of comedy

December 19th, 2005


Will Forte is the future of comedy. He’s hilarious. I could watch his “Falconer” sketches all day long, and his “spelling bee” sketch this weekend was scientific proof of the “relentless repetition” theory of comedy where:

  1. If something is slightly funny,
  2. then eventually it stops being funny,
  3. but through relentless repetition it will become funny again, and in fact, it often becomes more funny for the journey.

Also very charming was “Christmas-time For The Jews”, and Chris Parnell and Andy Samberg’s goofy white-guy Beastie Boys-style rap in “Lazy Sunday(WMV fomat, but works fine on Macs). I’ve always been a fan of SNL, so after a couple of truly disappointing episodes lately, it’s nice to see that they’re still capable of bring quality entertainment to my TiVo.

~jeff

ARTag

December 19th, 2005

ARTag 0

Ten holy craps, that’s cool.

You put a little 2d barcode sticker on something and this software recognizes it.

Then you can do anything with the graphic output: label parts in a car as you look at them in context to what you’re fixing, have peoples’ homepages float over their heads, find a book on your shelf instantly, leave comprehensive notes — books, even — about places, attach URLs to any object you own…

shock: the monkey

December 19th, 2005

Work continues on Shock: Social Science Fiction, and has progressed to this version, playtest 0.2.0. Download! Enjoy! Report!

Shock: is a Fiction Game (or Story Now Game, as some are calling things like this, or, as some others call them “role-playing games”) for generating science fiction in the Asimov/Bradbury/Dick/LeGuin/Heinlein model. In much of those authors’ works, protagonists are metaphor for the collision of a social issue and a big change between the reader’s society and that of the fiction. Those changes might be technologies, philosophies, or social upheavals of one sort or another. I call them Shocks.

Changed since v. 0.1.0: Conflict Resolution, which was deeply broken before, is much improved. Protagonists can initiate Conflict now and the use of dice rather than coins adds uncertainty to actions that didn’t exist before. There are set phases to a Conflict now that gives more texture and Minutiæ are given a particular mechanic.

These changes crept back all the way into Protagonist generation, though not as far as World Generation.

email report software

December 18th, 2005

One of the things I always really liked about Eudora — ok, the only thing I really liked about Eudora — is that it gave you the ability to look at “reports” of your email usage; who’s been emailing you, who you’ve been emailing, how much email you get in a week, how much email you send in a week, etc. Nifty data for anyone who spends a lot of time in their email client.

So I’ve been working on a little program to bring that to Mail.app. Right now, it’s very basic, and it only generates one report (“email-report.html”) which it dumps on your desktop and opens in TextEdit. That report will give you a hyperlinked chart which consists of the people in your Address Book, the last message they sent you, and the last message you sent them. The report is color-coded, so if you’ve communicated with them today, it’s bright green; if you’ve communicated with them this month, it’s darker green; and if you haven’t communicated with them during this month, it’s red. If you haven’t communicated in a year, it’s black, and if you’ve never communicated via email ever, it’s grey.

This release is a little rough, with some known cosmetic bugs, but it works it works for some people, not for everyone. I’m releasing this solely to get some feedback; does this baseline work for you? What other reports might be useful? Is the color-coding helpful? Is any of this of any use to anyone at all? Let me know — I’d like to develop this into a really useful tool for Mail.app users. Also, clearly I need a much more fun name for the application; any and all suggestions are warmly welcomed.

UPDATE: This stopped working a couple system updates ago and I’m not sure why. If you’ve got the energy and/or desire to fix it, here’s the source code. All I ask is that you drop me a line if you fix it so I can grab a fixed copy myself.

~jeff

the field notes of laika the dog

December 16th, 2005


warm, safe
friend
run run run
run to friend
friend sleep smell good
smell friend

strangers
smell smoke
smell danger
cars, loud, cage
afraid
alone, dark
smell metal smell oil
more strangers
afraid alone
loud! loud! afraid
no smell
hot, dark, miss friend
miss friend

~jeff

park(ing)

December 16th, 2005

PARK(ing)

Our goal was to transform a parking spot into a PARK(ing) space, thereby temporarily expanding the public realm and improving the quality of urban human habitat, at least until the meter ran out.

Awesome idea. Link.

find the hidden nature photos on your mac

December 16th, 2005

dewdrops!

Run this script to find some gorgeous nature photos that are stashed away on your Mac’s hard drive:

Find Nature Patterns (requires Mac OS X 10.4 or higher)

…part of the little-known “Nature Patterns” screen saver that silently snuck in to your hard drive via Mac OS X 10.4, they’re stunningly beautiful, high resolution JPEGs; and any or all of them would work really nicely as weblog header graphics, background elements, or just additional desktop backgrounds. Pretty!

~jeff

a method of rapid technological advancement, using only a time machine

December 16th, 2005

  1. Get a time machine. (This step seems difficult, but it gets easier later on in the process).
  2. Wait to use the time machine until late in your life, then travel back in time.
  3. Meet up with your younger self.
  4. Give them the time machine (see?), and teach them of all the major and minor technological advancements during your lifetime — your older self will have experienced much more than your younger self, so there will be much to tell. Your older self will then be able to live out your twilight years in the period of your youth, which is a pretty good deal.
  5. Because your younger self now has all the knowledge of your older self, your younger self will be able to make even more technological progress during their lifetime than you did previously the “first” time through.
  6. Loop and repeat the process when your younger self is old again. After enough iterations, you will be able to have given 1,000 generations worth of technological advancement to the world in the span of one lifetime. You’ll also probably be worshipped by all the people of the Earth as a living God, which is quite a nice side benefit.

EXTRA CREDIT: At the end of your 1,000-year iteration, go back in time, kill the original time-traveller (you), then go forward in time 1,000 years. How does your 1,000 year ‘loop’ of technological progress match up with the ‘actual’ 1,000 years of technological progress? Explain. (WARNING: this creates paradoxes.)

~jeff